Thanks, MTA

The Long Island Rail Road hikes fares this month, bringing the cost of my monthly ticket + Metrocard to an unprecedented $345.10, and then turns around and delays promised service improvements mere weeks later.  In fact, this announcement came just a few weeks after the head of the MTA was touting these improvements.  It's just wonderful to deflect criticisms about how your quasi-governmental public corporation handles money with promises of improvements, only to turn around less than a month later and fail to deliver on promises made. Among those promises?  Extra trains, one of which may have gotten rid of the many folks on my evening train who get off at Hicksville and take up much-needed seats for those of us in for the long haul (heading to Ronkonkoma).

Want to turn up some money, MTA?  In addition to the wonderful fare hike you just got, you could try cutting the advertising budget.  (And this would be the first time I've ever recommended cutting an ad budget to save money...)

The LIRR spends money on designing and printing all sorts of material, from posters to leaflets, reminding people to be courteous.  That is, as an LIRR rider, you're clubbed over the head several hundred times a month with cheeseball messages like "Don't be Cell-fish" and "One Seat, No Feet."

Known collectively as the "Courtesy Matters" campaign, these mini ad campaigns do nothing but annoy the hell out of riders.  On Wednesday's train, I still see just about everyone putting their bags and feet on seats I would like to sit in.  I stood until Hicksville.  I still heard people talking obnoxiously loud on cell phones or using ring tones that would cause most people to strangle the closest living organism.  But I recognize that it's none of my business and that these problems tend to solve themselves.  (Like when I looked at a guy spread across three seats on a crowded evening train when I was looking for a seat.  I shot him a look and asked him if he was comfy before he stopped hogging the row and let me sit down.)

You know what?  I don't think it's the MTA's job to tell its passengers to be courteous.  We step all over one another when we're walking the sidewalks in NYC.  We run over one another in Penn Station trying to get to trains in order to get a seat.  Why the hell does the MTA care how we treat one another on the train?

Take that design and printing budget away.  Roll it back into service improvements.  Maybe passengers would be more courteous if they weren't so miserable from having to stand on trains they should be able to find seats on.  Maybe they'd be happier if the cost of their rail commute didn't approach the cost of driving to the city every day.