The key that allows access through the gates at all 468 subway stations—dubbed the "magic key" by the Daily News—is now giving the MTA a headache: NYC Transit president Tedd Prendergast said that agency is auditing to see who has received the key. The News reports, "If the audit determines too many keys have fallen into the wrong hands - the keys are supposed to be used only by firefighters and certain authorized transit workers - then the agency will change locks wholesale, Prendergast said." So not only would the locks need to be replaced, NYC Transit will need to reissue keys as well!
The Daily News obtained a key from a man who bought it from a transit worker for $27. City Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx), who heads the Council's Transportation Committee, said, "It's mind-boggling! This could be a major security problem if these keys get into the wrong hands," while Councilman Peter Vallone (D-Queens), head of the Public Safety Committee, "This is a serious security breach. We know terrorists are planning to attack our subways, and the MTA and NYPD better find these magical morons quickly, and then make them disappear for a year in jail."
But some believe it's less a security issue and more a farebeating problem: A stations cleaner tells the News that scammers may "vandalize MetroCard vending machines in unstaffed entrances so they don't accept dollar bills," so people have to buy access for $1 or $2 to the subway from a scammer situated outside a gate door. And one man who was arrested for using the magic key said, "It was a good deal. I saved a lot of money. Now I got to pay every trip." Welcome to our world!