Dear Transit Sam,
Do you have any update on the M.T.A./N.Y.C. Transit’s calibration of its systems so that PATH will recognize Easy Pay Express MetroCards? I just recently signed up for the Easy Pay Express MetroCard and after calling twice to find out why my card wasn’t working, I was told today by an M.T.A. supervisor that the card does not work on PATH trains. They also told me that the M.T.A. has no plans to calibrate its systems so that PATH will recognize Easy Pay Express MetroCards. I just cancelled my new account, because I live in Lower Manhattan and work in Jersey City. I need a card that works on all turnstiles.
Bryan, Lower Manhattan
Easy Pay Express is the best! For those of you who don’t know about it, it’s a MetroCard that automatically refills by itself, similar to E-ZPass. But, while the regular MetroCard works on both N.Y.C. Transit and PATH, the Easy Pay Express MetroCard only works on N.Y.C. Transit. The M.T.A. had promised me in responding to a September letter to Transit Sam that this glitch would be corrected by December, 2009. Here’s an update: a spokesperson tells me they decided to “switch tracks” and roll out Easy Pay Express with Air Train JFK (only pay-per-ride MetroCards work now), which will be linked by the second quarter of this year.
The M.T.A.’s reasoning is that its JFK ridership base is smaller than PATH, allowing them to work out any kinks while inconveniencing fewer customers. After the pilot with Air Train JFK, they’ll work to sync it with PATH on a date still to be determined. I know we both had hoped Easy Pay Express would work on PATH by now, but I’ll stay on top of this and let you know when a firm date’s been set for implementation on PATH.
Dear Transit Sam,
I recently received a ticket for parking at a hydrant, which I believe was unwarranted. I couldn’t find a legal spot, so I pulled into an open space right by a hydrant. I had my son run down the block to pick something up. Minutes later, a traffic agent ticketed me for parking at a hydrant. I was always under the impression you could park at a hydrant as long as someone was behind the wheel.
Your impression was correct. The traffic agent should not have issued you a summons so plead not guilty. New York City Traffic Rule 4-08 (e) (2) states that one may stand a vehicle “within 15 feet of a fire hydrant” unless otherwise prohibited “from sunrise to sunset” if the driver of the vehicle remains in the driver’s seat ready to move the vehicle if instructed to do so by fire, police or other municipal department acting in his or her official capacity. A notarized statement from your son, attesting to the fact that you were behind the wheel ready to move, may also help.
Sam Schwartz, a former first deputy commissioner of city transportation, is president and C.E.O. of Sam Schwartz Engineering, a traffic engineering consulting firm to private and public entities including the Port Authority at the World Trade Center site. Email TransitSam@downtownexpress.com for all your transportation needs.