MetroCards fail 1 out of 5 times, report finds

May 25, 2011 2:43:01 PM PDT
How many times has it happened to you? You rush to catch a train. You swipe your MetroCard, and it doesn't work.

There goes your subway.

"I've been late picking up my children cause of troubles with my card, that is correct. Frustrating, very frustrating," said Jennifer Jones, a subway rider.

An MTA consultant's report shows the error rate for MetroCards is 20%.

That's one bad swipe out of every five.

The reasons vary.

It could be a defective card.

It could be insufficient funds.

And honestly, it could be the user.

"There's an element of Zen here. You are your card. If you are a Type A personality, sometimes you run it through too quickly. And sometimes you run it through too slowly," said Gene Russianoff, of the Straphangers Campaign.

During a press briefing streamed on the web, the MTA chairman acknowledged the MetroCard technology is frankly, old.

"We need to move to be able to do something that allows us to be able to handle this better," said Jay Walder, the MTA Chairman.

Equally frustrating, say riders, is the remedy for a defective card.

You need to fill out a form, drop it in an envelope, and mail the form and the card back to the MTA.

A station attendant cannot exchange your bad card for a good card.

"It's a whole big ordeal with this, it's like there is no substitute for a MetroCard, you know, I mean like take this here spare MetroCard," said David Delmoral, a subway rider.