It’s begun: the MTA has discovered millennials. They all live in Bushwick and Williamsburg, they can’t afford cars, and they want to ride the subway all the dang time, even during what used to be off-peak hours. And why are their (our) expectations so sky-high? Because they (we) didn’t live through the same terrifying, 1970s-era subway rides as our forbears, and have only glimpsed them through the hazy, romantic lens of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/ (Important anachronism alert: April appears to be getting her ass kicked by evil ninjas in the City Hall station, which isn’t possible, since it was taken out of passenger use in 1945. HOLLYWOOD LIES.)
Returning clumsily to our main point: the pickiness of both millennial and baby boomer riders was all part of a new report submitted to the transit agency’s finance committee Monday. The MTA is doing a “needs assessment” for the next 20 years, and both the Youngs and the Sort-of-Olds, it seems, have certain very special needs and expectations.
“You’re not terribly impressed that your subway doesn’t catch fire now,” the MTA’s chief spokesperson Adam Lisberg told the Times.. “Now your question is, ‘Why don’t I have a countdown clock and why don’t I have Wi-Fi?'”
It would seem that everyone, no matter what their age, should insist their mode of transport not be engulfed in flames; maybe that’s just our generational entitlement talking. In addition to non-flammability, the MTA report found that millennial riders are just entering the labor force (they are?), they’re “tech-savvy,” and they want 24/7 subway service, making it much harder to find time to do any maintenance work. (Personal observation suggests that the new maintenance window is “every weekend everywhere forever and ever.”)
As for the boomers, they too have “growing transit dependence,” as they leave the work force, but can’t afford to leave the city or buy a damn car. And they, too, are using the subway at off-peak times more often, presumably because retirement has freed up a lot of extra time for late-night, inter-borough booty calls.
The solution to all of this (except the sudden, unwelcome image of your parents answering booty calls) is, among other things, to install “real-time information and displays in stations and on vehicles” and enable phone and Wi-Fi service underground. Also, they seem to think finishing that Second Avenue subway line might help. Perhaps it’ll roll out in time for the millennials to use, right after we retire.
The full report is below, for your leisurely, 24/7, tech-savvy perusal:
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 24, 2013