Dear MTA

Dear MTA,

Your assistance is needed to combat the biggest problems in New York City public transportation besides lack of funds, inefficient systems and inadequate employees: tourists.

Obviously, tourists are fascinated with the entire New York City experience. Manhattan’s probably pretty overwhelming with the lights, the honking, the street vendors, the impressive comedy scene, the unforgiving eroded sidewalks, the tall shiny buildings, the sales tax, and the non-chain restaurants.

Unfortunately, this causes lingering standing derived from confusion, distraction and lack of understanding.

I try to help when I can, especially on the subway. I often provide clarification that uptown is where the street numbers are higher and downtown is where the street numbers are lower. I also assist in explaining the difference between local and express services. All to help the public transportation impaired get on their way and out of mine.

Now I ask you, MTA, to contribute to the flow of traffic on your buses, subways and trains. Please ensure that all escalators have signs which indicate proper escalator etiquette. “Walk on left, stand on right”, should cover it. Sadly, lots of lazy people and tourists do not understand that escalators were not created to carry us up and down stairs, but were designed to double the speed of such task.

Even though it is likely that the half of escalator standers that are not carrying heavy bags, elderly or suffering from a bad hangover have gym memberships, they do not walk. I have yet to figure out a half-decent way to request they move their asses. I truly feel a sign would help, so I could simply draw attention to the official MTA direction.

In return, I will continue to inform groups of tourists standing at the top of subway stairs that it’s “maybe not the best place to stand” as I wiggle through their unnecessary obstacle.

Together we can train tourists with signs and passing verbal reminders.

Rachel L. Arbeit


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