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This is one funny, sad and yet true depiction of the daily transit. I moved to NYC about 4 years ago and i had to observe to learn just what you said.
The sad part for me was that i was coming from brooklyn, so i had very few people behind thick glass or not that were willing to help.
The only help i got was one guy that gave me a gem of advice
" if you don't get your azz moving quicker and i miss that train cause you don't know how what metrocard to buy, i'll make you regret waking up today."

needless to say i figured out darn quick right then.




This is one funny, sad and yet true depiction of the daily transit. I moved to NYC about 4 years ago and i had to observe to learn just what you said.
The sad part for me was that i was coming from brooklyn, so i had very few people behind thick glass or not that were willing to help.
The only help i got was one guy that gave me a gem of advice
" if you don't get your azz moving quicker and i miss that train cause you don't know how what metrocard to buy, i'll make you regret waking up today."

needless to say i figured out darn quick right then.



Dear Dilbert,

You forget to mention the automated messages that repeat every two minutes, ordering the two hundred people crammed into a car to "stand clear of the closing doors," and offer an exception to the "keep moving" rule, that any suspicious looking types should reported to the folks who are skilled as pressing their knee into other folk's necks. These messages are actually meant to keep you awake, so that you can continuously stare into the four backs of the people in front pressing into you.




Hey Scott,

Your stories are great, and short. If you would like some longer ones, check out Joe Peacock's site. I highly recommend it.


Second, when someone with a badge throws you on the ground, puts your arm behind your back, puts his knee on your neck, and yells, “DO NOT RESIST! DO NOT RESIST!” you should not resist.
Sounds like this cop:


Every time I've brought friends from my current home in the midwest back to my hometown of NYC, I have seen them go through the MetroCard drama you speak of here. We try to coach them ahead of time, but it's always a struggle . . .

and I won't tell you that thing about "it's good luck if a bird sh#%s on your arm, it means you're getting money soon" because I know it doesn't help, but I will tell you that my one friend who had this happen to him and was like, "That's just something people say to make you feel better about just having been shat upon" actually ended up his day about $300 richer than he had been at the time of the bird's attack.

unfortunately, he's dead now, so whether he is really "lucky" is debatable . . .


The present subway/train ranking seems to be (best to worse) London - Boston - New York - Mumbai.

Either the French are modest or they are not reading your blog! I can only guess the Londoners talking about the wonderfully efficient London Underground never got to Paris.

Fast, cheap (3 times less than London, 10 tickets for 11 euro), extensively signposted, quiet (none of those ear-splitting screeching brake noises), and a train every 2-3 minutes.

London has a couple of lines like that, but for anyone that has to spend the usual 15-20 minutes at Earls Court for the district lines will probably start crying about now.



Unlike the morons who have been congratulating you as of late for your less-than-intelligent articles and saying that you're a very good boy for being funny and not too smart, I'd like to request MORE blog posts of value please.

If you've got some popularity purpose with this blog then sure, take it the direction of random comedy but if you're doing this for your own sake, then please write about whatever it is that you wish to opine on and Fuck everyone else.

I, for one, truly appreciated your opinion pieces (even if I found them at one point to slip towards light anti-semitism) and hope that you'll continue to enlighten us with those opinions.

Cheers bro,



Wow. You're a fuckin' genius. Though I was born and raised in New York, I haven't been back in some time and, with the exception of actually SEEING someone molested by a fascist agent, I've got to say that what you described is exactly what I would have described had I have had any sufficient audience warranting the summoning of my humorous abilities.

Seriously dude, this was spot on. Most Excellent.


Mike D

I love the guys who post the same thing three times in a row. You should put a warning that posts aren't posted until approved or something to that effect. Oh, wait.

Man whos a public transit fan

Amazing, I had to keep reminding myself that you were on the NYC Subway, because I could've sworn you were describing the *Boston* subway, which I've been riding for 11 years.

I think there's a fundamental truth here: the major public transit systems should only be viewed as a commuting system. They are not designed nor operated as a method for occasional visitors to use. Which makes sense, really...I'd imagine about 90% of any major cities' subway use comes from regular commuters, as opposed to tourists, visitors and other one-time users. Over time the system will adapt to best serve those customers.

This analogy probably breaks down if you go outside the United States, though. For example, as a tourist in Paris I found the Metro to be reasonably-priced, reasonably fast, moderately comfortable (lack of A/C in the summer kinda sucks) and exceptionally extensive...serving everywhere I wanted to go. Plus they've got the automatic stop-announcement and "countdown until next train" system down least on the renovated lines (about half of all subways).


Am a bit imaginative and cat stop smiling !

Great post ! Love you Scott for posts like these.

Maurice Condie

I liked your New York Subway blog. Good fun BUT you imply that Noo York is not a lovely place.
It is. As big cities go its great.
As a Brit I've visited the US a few times and New York and San Francisco are my favourite bits… well Carmel is lovely but I have a theory about Carmel. In Carmel there appear to be no Shops. There are restaurants and galleries. So either the people there eat out all the time and have everything else they need (or else the could not afford to live there) or they eat art…not beyond the realms of possibility.
What I have noticed in the US is that the further you get from the edges, the more it becomes your duty to own a gun to defend yourself against anyone you think might be looking at you funny.
I often wonder how many of the gun owners are happy to make themselves available for the militia. I have read it and that's why you can “bear arms”. See it's not just to shoot up with the H that grows more now than ever in our liberated Afghanistan.
I say send everyone with a gun to Iraqi and Afghanistan so they can be in the militia and fight those foes “foreign and domestic” that threaten the homeland.

Mark Thorson

As they say, Scott Adams
clearly has been on the
7 train.

Isabelle Dolce

Oh dear. I paid $18.00 the other day to ride from Times Square to Penn St. as I didn't realize you had to swipe and push the monkey cage door at the same time.

Lucky me though, I had one of those 'bargain cards' where I paid $20.00 for ten rides and got two free.

Anyway I do the math though, $18.00 is a lot for one stop regardless of the two freebies.

Andy Watt

Speaking as a test engineer, this entire post was marred by the obvious lack of attention to detail (and stress testing) when they designed the card system.

Tut tut - I can almost feel the automation possibilities of putting together a robot to test the swipes! I lvoe the "arse" machine at Ikea... could sit and watch that for hours...

What do you mean, this blog is meant to be funny?

Jeff Meyerson

Scott, as a native New Yorker let me tell you, you've got it down perfectly!

As for the MetroCards, if you're here long enough or will return within a year (the cards have an expiration date; see back), the way to go is buy a $40 Regular MetroCard and you get 4 free rides ($48 worth). Who said New York has no bargains?

As for the swiping thing, I think the Subway Gods like to screw with our heads as to how many swipes it takes. But don't ever change turnstiles in the middle or the card will charge you twice.

Ask at the Mumbling Booth for a subway map.


@ Calendar, maybe you could tone down the homophobia a bit? said Bob. Come on Bob, Calendar was drinking tequila with beer chasers, went home with a guy, spent time trying to persuade the guy that he (Calendar) wasn't interested in having sex with him and all he (Calendar) does at the end of the night is get the NY Subway back to base. Okay, maybe Calendar shouldn't have worn the leather trousers with the arse cut out WITH black stilleto's, perhaps he WAS sending the wrong message, but he doesn't sound homophobic to me. I would guess that NY gay librarian checked out the "tequila with beer chasers" and was planning on sex whether Calendar was in a state to consent or not. All he ended up with was lover's balls. I think he deserved worse. Do I sound homophobic? Well as it happens I am gay. (I'm not really but I know my sister reads this blog and I like to surprise her from time to time). Actually the first time I met the lady who is now my wife she appeared to have been drinking tequila with tequila chasers. We got together much later but I wonder if that sneaky thought was in my mind, "Get her her off with her clothes...etc"

Tokyo Joe

Another reason to move to Tokyo. But the "sleeping guy" trick slumping onto the good-looking girl is a trick the pervs try here, too. Watched a guy do it to two in succession until I jabbed him in the knee with my umbrella.


Hi Scott,

This post was hilarious! :) This is the stuff I love to read and the reason why I keep coming back to your blog! Much better than islam and philosophy...

Looking forward to more like this, it is what your really good at! :-))



Exactly right Scott.

In Melbourne (that's the Australian one) it was normally a condition of employment that English be your seventeenth language for doing station announcements. Then someone decided on using human voice actors run by software robots who get corrected by real human non voice actors who cannot count the platforms.

And to top it all off, the travelling public think the system sucks (late or cancelled trains, old bits, no infrastructure, etc...) and the state goverment agreed. So they decided we had to have a new $490 million dollar ticket system just to make sure we were paying for it.

Life does not imitate art, artists are not that insane.

Muthu Ramadoss

Wonderful post. How everyone can relate to this!

All along I've been thinking its me but now i know better ;)

Its scary as a visitor, but once you do it a few times you get used to it.

1996, was the first time i had my encounter with NY subs. Me and my college buddy went on NY sight seeing trip. He was more of a regular sub user so i was just following him. He bought some tokens to be used in turnstile and gave one to me. I put it in the slot and was out the other way. And i kept walking happily towards the platform when the guard stopped me. I had no clue why he stopped me. He stopped my friend too. The gaurd started writing us tickets. I was speechless. My buddy was more ok with it but refusing to speak. I muttered something, but the gaurd has done his job. The tickets were hander over and my friend collected it and we walked over to the platform.

Only later I found what the real offence was. When i was using my token at the turnstile to enter, apparently my buddy had squeazed in behind me in the same thing without using his token. The guard had correctly spotted this, and booked both of us. May be he thought as everyone might, that we were in it together. Imagine me, the poor S**KR fooled by my buddy. You can forgive him now as I have and blame it on the college days :)

2003, I was back again in NY for 3 months. Made me a native i must admit.

Bangalore Daze

Hey there.
I started reading your blog after somebody pointed out that I had stolen an idea from one you expressed on here. I landed here, read and realized that I hadn't (stolen), but you had (expressed the same idea before me), and as a bonus, you're funnier. Like this post.

Just one thing - at least you HAVE a subway system in NY.
Here in Bangalore (Motto: The lowest prices on code writing monkeys this side of the Antartic), we dont even HAVE a subway system.
Not to worry though, our govt is planning one
This is going to be their latest infrastructure improvement project. If by infrastructure you mean "reason to grab money".
Till such time as that is done, we have to do with our road transport system. Which is a great system. If by system you mean total anarchy.
To make it worse, by not being able to figure out what to do with tha cup holder in your CD tray, you've encouraged the formation of large cartels of knowledge monkeys happily answering your phone calls. These cartels looked at the pathetic public transport, and decided they weren't good enough. So they did the logical thing and made it worse. They've hired legions of vile cab drivers with turrets and a crazy streak in their eye and let them lose on the streets.

If by streets you mean a loose collection of gravel, potholes and mud.


Welcome to New York Scott!

Having been born & raised in NYC, I am used to everything you described. You posting about it, from the the outsider's point of view, made me think about it and laugh.

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