The MTA Wants Your Pay

The Metropolitan Transit Authority, more commonly known as the MTA, is a wonderful service that provides public transportation to millions of people, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Railroads, subways, buses…it’s all good! On the contrary, they also often perform actions that make their customers want to start protests called “Occupy MTA Offices.”

This past summer, I visited my friend via the MTA Metro-North railroad, traveling from Grand Central Station in Manhattan to the Cos Cob train station in Connecticut. Minor setback: I accidentally bought a ticket to the Croton Harmon station while rushing to catch my train. My fingers touched “Croton Harmon” instead of “Cos Cob.” I mean, seriously, with all the commotion of rushing and trying to meet my friend in the station, it wasn’t my fault, okay?! (At least, that’s what I’m telling myself.) That one little accident did not mean I couldn’t get a full refund for my mistaken ticket… Or so I thought.

I then bought a ticket to Cos Cob, my intentional destination, figuring I could return my useless Croton Harmon ticket. (“Useless” because who the hell do I know in Croton Harmon? No one! I don’t even know where that is.) It turned out I was right about returning it. All I had to do was fill out a form at Grand Central, show them my ticket, and they would send me a refund… in 6-8 weeks! Yippee! There was one more catch: I had to pay the MTA $10 to get the refund. That’s right, you heard me. I had to pay to get a refund.

(I didn’t even use the ticket at all, which you’d think would help my case, but apparently, the MTA likes to be “different.”)
Don’t ask me how this makes sense, because I have no clue. All I know is that it made me want to rip my hair out! Well, not literally. That would just be loco. Anyway, the point is that paying for a refund is just ridiculous. It cancels out the reason for requesting a refund in the first place! Furthermore, they do not even give a reason as to why they charge $10 per transaction. “Service charge.” What service? Servicing me with a fee for a refund? My $24 roundtrip ticket was now worth $14… a $10 loss for the simple mistake of choosing the wrong station. Thanks a lot, MTA. (I’m sticking to my word of denying I was at fault.)

On another note, and no, not a good one, the teller at the Metro-North desk at Grand Central told me it would take 6-8 weeks for the refund to be mailed to me. I mean, that’s cool, I guess. Make me pay to get my money back and then take 2 months to return my $14. Yes, I know, it must be a nuisance for them to look at a piece of paper, put $14 in an envelope, and send it. I’m pretty sure that can be done in less than 6-8 weeks. As it turns out, the form I filled out stated my refund would be delivered in 2-3 weeks.

That’s like, the same amount of time, right? Tsk, tsk, MTA.

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Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Attending college in New York City has its pros and cons, just like any other city. But notice the difference in length of these lists…

Pros:

Convenience, people. In New York, convenience is everything.

Living in the city means you have all the unique and delectable restaurants you want at your fingertips. There are all different kinds of bars, lounges, clubs, hookah bars, et cetera. From a shop solely dedicated to the art of rice pudding to a restaurant/bar with incredible American cuisine and drinks that is open 24/7, you name it, you got it.

Not to mention how late many restaurants/bars are open until. (I’ve gotten the best burgers and crepes at 4:00am.) I mean, it IS the city that never sleeps.

You can intern or work during the school year because you’re only a 20-minute subway ride away, not a 3-hour car drive.

There is a Starbucks about every three blocks (chai tea latte = heaven), and you never have to worry about being far away from a deli or drug store.

You are among the world’s most useful public transportation system… The good ol’ Metropolitan Transit Authority. (Ah yes, the MTA and I have a love-hate relationship… explanation to come later.)

Cons:

It can get pretty damn expensive, especially with dorm/rent payments and if you choose to get an unlimited monthly MetroCard ($104). Though, most people I know just use the pay-per-ride (regular) metrocard… Oh, and you don’t get that whole “normal college experience” thing, but the word “normal” doesn’t mean shit in New York anyway. And that’s what I love about it. See? NYC even makes a con turn into a pro!