Transit chief responds to subway complaints -- on Twitter and in person

- Some 10 weeks into the job, New York City Transit President Andy Byford Took to Twitter to communicate directly with his customers. Some tough New Yorkers called it a public relations stunt but others took advantage and got answers directly from the man in charge.

Byford hosted the Twitter session on a rough morning where the list disrupted lines read like the alphabet: the A, C, E, D, L, N, R, M, F, 1, 4, 5, 6, 7 lines and the Rockaway Park shuttle all had major problems. But that didn't stop him from his Twitter session.

Even though he was the one answering questions, Byford said he learned a lot from hearing from transit riders. He said riders are "fed up" with the transit system and the lack of reliable service.

The sheer number of delays and the frustration of getting to work late was a constant theme of the Twitter chat. The inefficient and lengthy process for reimbursements of bad MetroCards also got Byford's attention.

After his Twitter availability, Byford took the A train to his next meeting in another borough. He went passenger to passenger to learn more. Some riders said they were glad Byford was getting a first-hand look at what they go through.

Not all New Yorkers can be pleased. And the Twitter questions showed a range of knowledge regarding the subway system. One tweet seemed to think the NYC Transit president has control over fares going up; he doesn't. Yet others knew Gov. Andrew Cuomo runs the MTA.

"Talking to customers is a basic part of the job," Byford told reporters. "I talk my customers so I'm not interested in PR stunts. I haven't got time for PR stunts."

Another subject came up in the discussion: complaints about MetroCards. Byford confirmed that he wants them gone and he wants a new technology in place soon. So the days of the MetroCard are truly numbered.

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