Three New Yorkers have turned their frustrating commute into laughs on Twitter — at the MTA’s expense.
Josh Oswald and Reed Jackson, both of Jackson Heights, send satirical messages as the MTA’s faux public relations department, FakeMTA, jesting in a manner similar to that of younger brothers prodding an older sibling. But when Amy Yakuboff, of Park Slope, posts her frequently profanity-infused comments on the account WeHateTheMTA, she sounds like a scorned lover.
“It’s a frustration that is so unnecessary if this company had their crap together,” Yakuboff, 25, said. “There are millions of people they are p---ing off on a daily basis.”
Yakuboff, a freelance publicist from Park Slope, points out problems she comes across on her commute, re-posts complaints from other straphangers and grills the MTA’s official twitter account demanding answers (and sometimes just to criticize their grammar).
The problems, Yakuboff says, are endless. Among the most frequent: “Why did this train all of a sudden go express?” and “How come one sick passenger can f--- up an entire train line for over an hour?”
“I’m kvetching a lot.,” Yakuboff admits. “But I do feel like there is a responsibility now to help people get some questions answered and to know what’s going on.”
Oswald and Jackson’s tweets aren’t nearly as hostile. The duo began FakeMTA in November 2009 and was an instant hit; more than 10,000 now follow the feed.
“As people who commuted every day, we spent so much time on the subway wondering why things were going wrong,” said Jackson, 32. “We figured it would be good to put that frustration to use.”
They mock subway service (“In honor of Independence Day, trains will be running on 1776 speed and frequency”), the transit agency’s money woes (“Profits from selling its $150 million headquarters will fund a $250 million headquarters monument and MTA museum”), train ridership (“The J train has been priced out of the Essex/Delancey stop, due to rampant gentrification”) and sprinkle in references from current news events “In honor of the same-sex marriage act, the ratio of C to E trains running through Chelsea will finally be equal.”
“I kind of get tired of L train jokes, but they feed themselves,” said Oswald, 30. He loves making fecal Flushing jokes, even though they aren’t as popular. But the funniest things about the subway? “The announcements,” Oswald said, “which either cant be heard, or – if you’re a visitor or tourist – make no sense.”
An MTA spokesman acknowledged coming across both Twitter accounts, but would not comment on them.
Yakuboff says inserting comedy into her posts is therapeutic. And oddly enough, hearing from other commuters about their problems also helps calm her nerves.
“It’s just knowing you’re not alone,” she said. “Especially in the city when there are so many people and you can feel alone.”
But Oswald and Jackson don’t blame the MTA for all of its problems. “I wish they would have more money to fix things, but that’s not really their fault,” Jackson said.
“I love ‘em,” he added. “And they’ve provided with me endless amount of jokes.”