File #: Res 1744-2001    Version: * Name: Hold hearing, the performance of the MetroCard system.
Type: Resolution Status: Filed
Committee: Committee on Transportation
On agenda: 2/27/2001
Enactment date: Law number:
Title: Resolution calling upon the appropriate committee of the City Council to hold hearings on the performance of the MetroCard system.
Sponsors: Kathryn E. Freed, June M. Eisland, Guillermo Linares, Christine C. Quinn, Stephen J. Fiala, James S. Oddo, Adolfo Carrion, Julia Harrison, Margarita Lopez, Stanley E. Michels, Jerome X. O'Donovan, Philip Reed
Council Member Sponsors: 12
Res. No. 1744 Title Resolution calling upon the appropriate committee of the City Council to hold hearings on the performance of the MetroCard system. Body By Council Members Freed, Eisland, Linares, Quinn, Fiala and Oddo; also Council Members Carrion, Harrison, Lopez, Michels, O'Donovan and Reed Whereas, New York City's automated fare collection system, commonly known as MetroCard, has been operational since October 30, 1992; and Whereas, The successful performance of this system is critical to the functioning of the City's infrastructure in that it affects the transportation needs of millions of persons every day; and Whereas, The benefits that the MetroCard system offers to riders include convenience, discounted fares for bulk ride purchases, free and virtually seamless transfers from bus to subway and subway to bus and the ability to purchase or update a MetroCard, including by credit card, from an automated vending machine rather than waiting on long lines at token booths; and Whereas, The implementation of the TransitChek program has allowed many City employees and private sector employees whose companies have elected to participate, to have their mass transit expenses deducted from their paychecks using pre-tax dollars, resulting in substantial savings and receipt by mail of a MetroCard good for an entire year; and Whereas, Certain problems with the MetroCard system have revealed themselves, some of which the New York City Transit Authority (NYCTA) has successfully resolved and some of which still remain problematic; and Whereas, Problems have included swiping errors, automated vending machine failure, demagnetized cards, illegal sale of MetroCard trips or "fare swipes", "lockout period" issues as well as a host of other problems; and Whereas, Automated MetroCard vending machines are currently limited in their ability to dispense change and users are often not warned of this fact in advance of using the machines due to a lack of signage announcing such machine's limitation; and Whereas, Illegal swiping was the subject of a January 29, 2001 New York Times article in which it was reported that individuals not affiliated with the NYCTA were illegally profiting by repeatedly using an unlimited MetroCard to "swipe" riders through the subway turnstiles and charging those riders for the swipe; and Whereas, A similar illegal practice, evidenced by the arrest of several subway agents in August 2000 for engaging in it, concerns the manipulation of a MetroCard with no remaining value by bending or otherwise tampering with it resulting in an additional $1.50 fare; and Whereas, The inconvenience and danger of a system-wide malfunction was demonstrated at the end of October 2000 when virtually all of the 1,800 automated MetroCard vending machines suddenly ceased working for the better part of a full day, allegedly due to a computer error; and Whereas, Should either the automated MetroCard vending machines or the automated fare collection system go out of service for any protracted period of time, the mass transportation infrastructure of New York City could be crippled resulting in chaotic conditions and safety hazards as well as disruption of business operations; and Whereas, The riding public is owed a more clear and detailed account by the NYCTA of its plans to phase in automated MetroCard vending machines and how it intends to deploy, reassign or eliminate employees whose place is being taken by such machines; now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the appropriate committee of the City Council hold hearings on the performance of the MetroCard system. MBS-2/22/01 LS#3856