CBS New York

MTA Leadership Wants To See Fewer Mean Tweets From Riders

January 27, 2018

Believe it or not, the Metropolitan Transit Authority actually reads tweets from its frustrated riders.

But as CBS2’s Dave Carlin found out, if you want the agency to respond, it’s all in the details.

“I tweet that I hate the MTA,” Upper West Side resident Charles Catt said.

Riders’ revenge on the MTA is the public shame of a perfectly phrased tweet.

“Why do you always raise the price and you never improve the service?” said Jay Armenta, of the South Bronx. “Nobody answered me.”

Some of the riders who rail say they doubt anyone listens when they complain about fares going up, track work and delays. But it seems those on the top rungs of the MTA ladder are in fact paying attention.

“They tweet nasty things about me all day – the riders,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said over the summer. “Riders tweet all day long information about trains and delays, but the MTA can’t manage to communicate with the riders.”

“I’d love to see Twitter feeds be a little more positive than they are,” said MTA Chairman Joe Lhota during a State Assembly hearing this week.

Lhota confirmed the MTA does monitor tweets and said improvements to the system should one day result in the angry messages getting milder.

“If they can’t stand it, how do they think we feel?” Catt said.

So the public has power at its fingertips. But what to do with it?

If you’re using social media to get the attention of the MTA, or an airline or department store, experts say there is a right and wrong way to go about it.

“Tweets have become a very effective mode of communication,” commercial litigator Richard Roth told Carlin.

He said your message stands the best chance of getting noticed if it’s clear with lots of detail.

“Be specific. To actually say what went wrong, as opposed to ‘I had a bad experience,’” he said.

Some riders say to the MTA: If you want sweet tweets instead of mean ones, finally fix the problems.

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