Next time you swipe your card but are asked to swipe it again, you may have an MTA next to you to help you out. The Post reports that the MTA is looking to have employees stand near turnstiles and Metrocard vending machines to help out passengers. The "station customer assistants" are part of an effort for the MTA to improve customer service; Gothamist thinks it's because other passengers hate the Metrotards that block the turnstiles, insisting they know how to swipe. The idea is that the station customer assistants would help out during rush hour at heavily trafficked stations, but the transit workers union is worried that assistants will be put in dangerous situations when thieves trying to hack into the vending machine or fake out the turnstile come around.
Other news: Freaking Congress is working on a bill giving New York State $1.6 billion less in federal money for transportation - most of which would be directed towards NYC related transportation. Let's hope some more funding will come our way before the bill passes, as Representative Sherwood L. Boehlert (a Republican) points out "New York's transit system carried about a third of the nation's mass transit riders last year, but will receive only about 14 percent of all federal transit aid." You tell them, Boehlert!
Finally, the statement of Quelal Bonergy, who caused a fire and huge subway stoppage last month, was released. The Daily News reported that he wanted a mass murder ("I wanted death, death. One-hundred twenty would die.") and was angry over "being 'inconvenienced' in a clothing store, and further angered after thinking about his daughter having sex." Quelal said it wasn't a terrorist plot, claiming he liked President Bush and Mayor Bloomberg, "I like them very much. I like Republicans." Clearly, Quelal will be using some sort of "insanity" defense.