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.