MTA transfer blame

I, like many of you, use mass transit on a daily basis. Three buses and three hours later I arrive at school, tired before my day has even begun.

There are weeks when I cannot afford an unlimited card, and so I save my little extra thirty cents on all the cards I have and put them together at one of the many convenient and friendly booths run by very competent clerks who, on occasion, might be excused for their choice of language due to, say, a bad day.

About a week ago, after purchasing a Metrocard at a machine and checking it at the booth to ensure the proper amount was readily available, I went about my daily routine of being the proverbial sardine amid a sea of humanity on one of New York City’s fine buses. Finally free and breathing again, I boarded yet another bus and expected to swipe my card and get the free transfer due me. Not so fast.

One look at the machine told me that, instead of giving me the one free transfer all straphangers are due with each 2.25 paid, the darn thing had taken yet another 2.25 from my card, and I assume, was chuckling at me.

Well, I would have none of that and asked the bus driver what was going on. He ignored my plea for fairness and flatly told me that I had used the card incorrectly (as if there is more than one way to use it).

Then, with a friendly gesture, he told me to step to the rear of the bus, as he had more customers waiting to board. I obeyed, and eventually decided that a mere 2.25 was not worth the aggravation.

Several days later, however, my close friend and fellow Johnnie, Tamara Pierre, came to me with a story that was a doppelganger for my own. Somewhat less tolerant than myself, she was livid, and rightly so I might add.

So, I decided to do a little survey and out of ten people whom I asked, three admitted to experiencing similar scenarios and were, like myself and Tamara, still befuddled.

My next step was to question an MTA employee and, knowing them to be helpful and courteous, was sure I would get to the bottom of this problem. Moreover, I was confident that I would garner not only the lost money, but an apology as well.

The first individual I brought the problem up with was a booth clerk at one of our city’s many underground stations. She simply glared at me and, I guess, didn’t feel my query was worthy of a response. I chalked that up to the “bad day” theory and moved along.

Finally, I encountered a clerk who was willing to help me. His aid was in the form of advice. He also was of the opinion that myself, Tamara, and the three other individuals polled, had “used the card incorrectly.”

So, in the end, we, the purchasers of the cards, and not the creators of the cards were incorrect. Who woulda thought?