Monday, February 21, 2011

Howard’s Inner Circle, No. 28: A Token of These Times

To enter the New York City subway system you must use an electronic MTA MetroCard. It is generally purchased and refilled outside the subway stop entrance. That differs from when I was a wee lad. Then a small token was purchased from a station agent for 15 cents. If you had a problem when you inserted the token at the turnstile, the station agent would help you gain admission.

Unfortunately now at many station entrances there are no longer any attendants. And that’s a problem when the MetroCard machine at the station reads “No Cash Accepted.” The first time this happened to me I called the customer service telephone number on the back of my MetroCard that needed replenishing. To my surprise a recording stated the number was no longer in use and gave me a new number. I called and after following eight or nine prompts I gave up on informing the MTA about that MetroCard machine that wasn’t taking cash.

As I began walking to find a subway entrance machine that would take my cash, I pondered whether my experience was today’s token of the times.

© 2011
The above may be reproduced in full if that fact is stated and Howard Wolosky at is credited as the author.

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