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Riders report MetroCard machine chaos at Queens subway station

Subway riders in Queens say MetroCard machines are a mess
Subway riders in Queens say MetroCard machines are a mess 02:05

NEW YORK - From eating cash to long lines, subway riders in Queens say their MetroCard machines are a mess.

In dynamic Flushing where cultures intertwine, the 7 train keeps a neighborhood humming. But lately, according to passengers, the rhythm underground has been coming to halt. 

"I've observed chaos, especially during rush hour, when there are a lot of people trying to pay cash and buy MetroCards unsuccessfully," Queens native John McStocker said.

He says two family members recently had money eaten by MetroCard machines at Flushing-Main Street Station, where he witnesses long lines and regular service outages.

"It's extremely frustrating," he said.

Since machines warn of no cash or change in English, the lighted banners can go unnoticed by riders using Chinese. 

The MTA is phasing out MetroCards but has not yet set a date, telling CBS New York in a statement:

"The MTA's contactless fare payment system, OMNY, continues to be the first choice for pay-per-ride full fare customers, with over 74% of full fare customers on subway and bus ditching the MetroCard and choosing tap-to-pay. OMNY Card Vending Machine installations began in October 2023 and will continue this year. In the meantime, customers who encounter issues with their MetroCards are welcome to file a claim online or with one of our station agents."

One of the busiest stations in the system, Flushing-Main Street is served by the 7 train and the Long Island Railroad. It also acts as a major bus-to-rail interchange in Queens, connecting about 20 bus routes.

Riders there depend on MetroCards over OMNY taps. According to a report from the MTA, the station saw 6.3 million MetroCard swipes last year, more than anywhere else in the city. Grand Central led the way in OMNY taps with 5.4 million.

Station kiosks no longer sell MetroCards, and customers with issues are asked to fill out a form or call 511 for outside assistance. Riders call this a barrier, particularly for non-native English speakers.

"I've gone so far as to make sure I have some money in the MetroCard and then recharge it at other locations," McStocker said. "I can count on Flushing being problematic."

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