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MTA sucks

They had a sign on the wall promoting this Easy Pay express metrocard that would auto-refill and I was like, cool, so when I got to the ofc I looked it up, found the sign-up page, gave my information and chose the EasyPayXpress PayPerRide Plan, clicked on lu et endendu or whatever they call it, and promptly got this:

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 2.07.02 PM

I clicked on the back button to see what I’d done wrong, and all my information was gone from the form. Damn bureaucratic #^%@#*&^! How come Amazon can do this right and the MTA can’t?


  1. Anonymous says:

    “How come Amazon can do this right and the MTA can’t?”

    There’s never a Social Scientist around when you need one to answer these questions. Just the other day I was wondering why South Korea is lit up at night, but North Korea isn’t? Completely mystery.

  2. Fernando says:

    “How come Amazon can do this right and the MTA can’t?”


    PS BTW I guess Amazon is a much bigger “bureaucracy”.

  3. Because the MTA cannot go out of business, no matter how badly they fulfill their mission.

    • Andrew says:


      I know what you’re saying, and I’m not saying you’re wrong, but if the MTA were completely unresponsive, they wouldn’t’ve started up this new program in the first place. It seems to me that there’s a technology deficit, that they’re using crappy software.

      The Amtrak software if you want to buy a ticket is crappy too, again far inferior to Amazon. I really wish I could buy train and plane tickets on Amazon. That would be so convenient! I’m so sick of having to re-enter my credit card and passenger information a zillion times.

      And, to all of you readers, before you scream “First World Problems” at me: No kidding, I know it’s not important. But it was somebody’s job to set up this system; why not set it up right?

      • Anonymous says:

        I was going to scream “New York values” actually.

      • Martha says:

        I strongly suspect that neither MTA nor Amtrak can afford the salaries that Amazon can, so they have to settle for the people they can get for the salaries they can pay — not the cream of the crop.

        • Shravan says:

          It seems like an American problem. I doubt that Germany pays Amazon-level salaries to their software developers, and yet, their software for train tickets works seamlessly. There’s a lot the US could learn from places like Germany (medical care, transportation,…). Germany’s far from perfect, but it’s amazing how poorly the US manages these things.

          • Martha says:

            Good point. I would guess that politics are part of the difference between Germany and the U.S.. But also perhaps that Germany is smaller, so there is a more uniform “tradition” (i.e., what people are used to and expect).

        • ASV says:

          Do they actually employ people to design, develop, and maintain these systems, or do they contract it out? If the latter, they’re also dealing with procurement rules Amazon doesn’t have to worry about.

      • Rahul says:


        A part of this is economies of scale. A platform that supports a larger number of transactions can afford to spread cost of development over a larger denominator.

        Its a boon and a curse. It’s what leads to a winner take all economy: Amazon can have such a smooth process and experiences that other, lesser players will be driven out of the market.

        Good when I’m wearing my consumer hat. Worrying when I’m wearing my (average) employee hat.

      • You do raise a valid point, which is why I think the more interesting question is the inverse of yours: why does the MTA (and similar organizations not subject to market feedback) do as well as it does?

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