Why the hell is there an MTA tax on my cellphone bill!

The last time I checked, there was absolutely no cellphone reception on the New York City Subway. No phone calls, no Internet access nothing!

Yet hidden away on my cellphone bill is a tax code for the MTA. I was on a call with AT&T a few weeks ago, to perform my yearly check to see if I have the best deal on the service I consume (if seems that unless you call them around once a year, the charges you pay start to either rise or at least don’t take advantage of newer plans). I asked the usual questions:

1. Please look at the service package I have, am I getting the best deal you offer for these services?
2. Is there some new way of configuring my bill to lower the costs?
3. Can you confirm that my minutes that I pay for are close to what I use?
4. If I were to move to your competitor would they offer me a better deal? And would you like to just compete proactively to save me having to do that?

The result is always a reduction of some part of the plan, same or better service, but with a lower price (and it seems they always waive upgrade fees if I choose to upgrade my phone more often than once every two years)

I do the same thing with cable, home insurance, car insurance and banks. Just 15 minutes every couple of months saves many hundreds a year (and yes I do like GIECO).

Anyway while I was on the phone with AT&T, since the call went so well and was quick I thought I’d ask about some of the taxes on the bill. One was labeled MTA, I was sure it wouldn’t be the Metropolitan Transport Authority for New York City, as they offer no cell service. But I was wrong, it is them! Just a few cents every month, but since there are millions of cell users in the area, this is a big ticket item on their budget.

I’m sure it’s a hangover from the days when cables ran through subway tunnels, and they have just kept it going.

Here’s hoping that’s the reason and they are not in fact investing in cell phone services on subways.

Can you imagine how annoying it will be if everyone has to shout over the noise of the trains at each other.

And of course since the emergence of reality TV, where everyone shouts into their speakerphone (so the camera can pick up both sides of a conversation), everyone below the age of 30 feels the need to always answer their phones that way.

If you want to look really stupid, try walking down a street shouting into the screen of a cellphone. It actually makes people who talk into a Bluetooth headset seem sane by comparison.

So now imagine these same reality TV saturated phone junkies screaming into their slab of glass on the subway platform or even the subway, it will not be pretty.

If the number of fights per month on the subway system increases dramatically, I suspect that will be a good indication of the ability to make calls while down there.



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One Reply to “Why the hell is there an MTA tax on my cellphone bill!”

  1. Be forewarned, they buried the MTA tax on your cell bill, electric, bill and other bills. This is not a tax for anything MTA to benefit the general public. They are hoping people like my just forget about them and go away but guess what? I’M GOING NO WHERE!!!! Everyone in NYC pays this fee which amounts to cents but if you multiply it times the number of bills it is conveniently hidden in, that’s millions of dollars. The fee was implemented right after 9-11 because the MTA lost millions and it was a way for them to recoup what they lost. Where is the tax for me and the money I lost, or the fee for everyone else who lost money? I think that by now they recouped their money but they keep charging us. I have figured where it is on my cellular bill, gas bill and electric bill. When I pay the bill, by money order, I leave that amount out. My local electric company actually called me to ask why I was not paying it to which I answered, “Because it is taxation without representation! I will not pay it until someone finds a way to reimburse me!!!” “You know we can shut your power off,” “No you cannot! As long as my electric bill is paid, you cannot disconnect my service for non-payment of a tax for a local company who does not deserve it?! You are nothing more than a tax collector for them and if they have an issue with it have them call me. If you turn my power off for this I will sue!!!” I have not been bothered since.

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