SUNSET PARK — If you want to buy a MetroCard at the 59th Street subway station, tough luck, said riders who use the station.
Most of the MetroCard vending machines at the busy station are out of service and the machines that do work accept cash only, peeved passengers said.
“It’s a mess,” rider Katie Portelli told the Home Reporter.
Portelli said she has had to add several minutes to her morning commute to compensate for MetroCard machine machinations. “And I can’t be the only one. It’s a busy station. Thousands of people go through there. You have the R and N lines running there. You have bus lines outside. You have schools nearby,” she said.
The problem, according to riders, is that the MetroCard machines near the station’s main entrance at 59th Street are currently out of commission and the token booth clerk has been reassigned to the station’s other entrance a block away, at 60th Street.
The MetroCard machine problem has been going on for weeks, Portelli and other riders told the Home Reporter.
The MTA is currently constructing an elevator at the station and Portelli said she was told by an MTA employee that the MetroCard machines at 59th Street would remain unavailable for the duration of the elevator construction project. “That could take two years or more,” she lamented.
The station, located on 59th Street and Fourth Avenue, has a secondary entrance at 60th Street.
There are MetroCard machines at 60th Street. “But they only take cash,” Portelli said.
Many riders prefer to make their MetroCard purchases via credit or debit card rather than cash.
“This is such a pain. The MTA didn’t tell the public about it. They could have at least told people this was the way it was going to be,” said another straphanger.
The same rider suggested that the MTA bring a MetroCard bus to the Sunset Park station once a week to give riders the opportunity to buy or refill their cards.
MTA spokesperson Meredith Daniels said the MetroCard machine malfunctions actually have nothing to do with the elevator construction.
“There are five machines at that station. Two are on the north mezzanine at the 59th Street entrance and three are on the south mezzanine at the 60th Street entrance. They are all accepting cash only as repairs need to be made due to a problem with the telecommunication cables,” Daniels told the Home Reporter in an email.
The good news, according to Daniels, is that repairs are expected to be made quickly. “This is a high priority,” she said.
Meanwhile, the elevator construction is continuing. The MTA is installing three elevators that will be compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. One elevator will take passengers from the street to the station’s mezz