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Run-Ins with Metrotards

September 14, 2010

Metrotard (noun): A person in front of you at the subway turnstile who can’t figure out how to swipe his or her subway pass. Also: A person who tries to use a Metrocard to withdraw money from an ATM.

[Guide to new York Jargon]

I think that any person who takes transit anywhere in the world will eventually come across a metrotard.

The first experience I ever had with a metrotard was two years ago, when my co-worker was in a hurry to get to the airport from Arts Center and, not paying much attention, jammed her bank card into the dollar bill slot on the Breeze machine. How? “I don’t know!” She cried. “I just know that the person who came over to help me when I was having a problem shook her head and sighed.” Needless to say, she had to get a new bank card, a Breeze machine went out of commission, and she had to use her remaining paper money to buy her one way ride.

I may have missed some run-ins in between then and now. Once, when One was working the gates during a high-ridership event, he instructed a rider to tap her card. She did, but against his chest. One also used to stick his Breeze card into his iPhone holder and act like it was some new, advanced application.

Most recently, again at Arts Center, a woman asked me how to use her card. Apparently, “tap it on the circle” can be misconstrued. She double clicked on the circle with her finger, perhaps attempting some sort of Morse code, or maybe like opening a program on the newfangled PC she just learned how to use.

Metrotard scenarios are often good-humored blunders or brainfarts of normally with it people, and usually they can laugh at themselves. Then, there’s the boob tap. Got a Metrotard story? Share it in the comments!


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