Saturday, February 4, 2012

Local Nut Writes Letter, Expects Results

Local nut and aspiring troublemaker Joey Armao has written a letter to the MTA, and CC'd various representatives of State and local government, complaining of substandard conditions on the A line of New York Subway System. Armao, a 33 year old attorney, discussed his decision to write the letter today in an exclusive interview.

File Photo

When asked his reasons for writing the letter, Mr. Armao stated he was sick and tired of paying the same fare as other subway riders, but being forced to commute on older, obsolete, dilapidated trains when the rest of the subway system has cars, stations and amenities that are cleaner, nicer and more modern. He went on to state that since the A services both the new casino at Aqueduct, and JFK Airport, he thinks the city should be mortified at the horrible conditions on the only mass transit system that links these two destinations to Manhattan. He closed the interview by saying he hoped his letter would get something done, but that if he didn't get a response and see results, more letters, with a larger CC list, would be forthcoming. "These people work for us right?. Our tax dollars, and the fares we pay to ride the subway, pay their salaries. Hopefully my letter will open some eyes to these problems and things will change. That's the way representative government works right?
Mr. Armao is obviously living in a delusional fantasy world, and is possibly deranged and psychotic. He should be considered dangerous, and we warn readers to approach him with extreme caution, if at all. The letter can be read in its entirety below.

Carmen Bianco
Senior Vice President, Department of Subways
2 Broadway
New York, NY 10004

                 Re:       The A Train

Dear Ms. Bianco:

            My name is Joseph Armao. For the past seven months I’ve been commuting to and from my home in south Queens, and my office in downtown Manhattan, via the A line. I am writing you this letter to voice my complaints about the atrocious service and conditions that must be endured by the thousands of commuters who ride the A train on a daily basis. As you are no doubt aware, the A line is plagued with outdated, dilapidated, overcrowded cars; unpredictable delays, unreliable service and at times, rude MTA personnel. In short, this is entirely unacceptable for the mass transit system servicing the greatest city in the world, and must change..

             Firstly, the cars running on the A line are R46 cars, which were built in the seventies and refurbished in the mid-nineties. In the past seven months I’ve experienced cars that are consistently dirty and even leaky when it’s raining outside. The cars are old, run-down and obviously obsolete. I’ve had occasion to travel on other lines recently, and frankly I was stunned at the clean, modern cars that are running, specifically on the 2, 3, 4, 5, and J trains. Unlike commuters on those lines, riders on the A train do not have automated, easily understood announcements, nor the light-up overhead route maps allowing riders to easily identify their stops. Nor are any of the A train’s stations equipped with the digital arrival-time message boards which are featured in the stations for other lines. Simply put, this is just unfair to the thousands of commuters who ride the A train every day.

               In addition to being old, the cars are far more crowded than the cars of other lines at comparable times of day; and the wait times between arriving trains is significantly longer than other services. One can only conclude that there just not enough A trains running at any given time. Attempting to leave Manhattan from the Fulton Street station on a typical weekday evening via the A line is nothing short of a nightmare. Routinely, there will be crowds three or four people deep waiting for the train to arrive at the platform. By the time the A arrives at Fulton Street, which as you know is the last stop in Manhattan, the overcrowding resembles conditions I’ve seen on videos showing the mass transit systems in China and India. As I stated earlier, this is simply unacceptable for the transit system in New York City. And, once on the train, if you can manage to cram yourself in, passengers are more often than not greeted with a conductor yelling angrily and rudely over the public address system for people to get clear of the doors. No apology for the crowding or for the waits that are sometimes in excess of fifteen or twenty minutes between trains. Just a reprimand, as if the crowding and the delay weren’t entirely in the control of MTA.

                 Perhaps the time has come to split the service between the Lefferts Boulevard A and the Far Rockaway A? If both weren’t making the same stops in Brooklyn, maybe everyone leaving the city bound for Brooklyn wouldn’t just cram into the first A train that arrives? Or maybe its time to add more trains running at peak hours? I don’t know the solution, and I don’t pretend to. Solving these problems is not my job, it’s yours. My job, as a daily commuter on the A line, is to inform you that the service is simply not up to par. Commuters on the A line pay the same fare as the riders of every other line on the New York City Subway system. It is entirely unfair and inequitable that the conditions on the A are so far inferior to those on nearly all of the other lines. Not to mention the “salt in the wounds” added by the MTA itself – I can tell you unequivocally, nobody riding on the A train wants to read the MTA’s “Improving Non-Stop” advertisements detailing all of the wonderful new improvements being implemented on other lines, in other stations, when nothing has been improved on the A in decades.

                  Finally, even if the comfort and well being of the daily commuters on the line isn’t a concern, the A line services not only JFK airport, but the new casino complex at Aqueduct Racetrack as well - two destinations that are financially significant to the City and State. It defies comprehension that the line continues to be allowed to operate under the current substandard conditions. It is downright embarrassing that for many visitors to our city who arrive at JFK, the A train is the first experience with New York City’s Mass Transit system as they make their way to Manhattan. On a similar note, a ride on the A train in its current condition is nothing short of a deterrent to frequenting the casino. For those reasons alone efforts must be made to improve conditions immediately.

                   In closing, complaining usually isn’t in my nature. I am not prone to activism, nor am I just some nut with nothing better to do than write letters all day. What I am though is weary. Weary of dreading my commute to and from work every day, and weary of paying the same price as other commuters in the city for a vastly inferior service. In truth, I don’t even expect a response to this letter, though one would be appreciated. Please realize though that no response, save for the immediate improvement of services on the A line, is going to satisfy me anyway. In fact I plan on writing over and over again until the above problems have been addressed and solved (for which I apologize in advance to those who I’m “CC’ing”)

Very Truly Yours




MTA New York City Transit
Darryl C. Irick
Vice President / President
2 Broadway
New York, NY 10004-2207

Rep. Robert Turner
82-20A Eliot Avenue
Middle Village, NY 11379

Sen. Charles Schumer
780 Third Avenue – Suite 2301
New York, NY 10017

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg
City Hall
New York, NY 10007

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo
NYS State Capitol Building
Albany, NY 12224             

Councilman Eric Ulrich
93-06 101st Avenue
Ozone Park, NY 11416


  1. Any responses yet from any of the offices above?