Earlier this month, a crowd of more than 20 people gathered at Riverdale Avenue at West 257th Street on a sunny, yet chilly, April day.
The line, which many thought unusually long, was not for free tickets to an event or a promotional giveaway. Instead, it was a chance to purchase or refill their MetroCard without having to travel all the way to the nearest train station.
There was plenty of praise over the convenience of getting MetroCard service closer to home, but few seemed to understand why the traveling MTA van was more popular than usual.
“This is more than what I’ve ever seen. I don’t know why,” said Joane, who declined to give her last name. “There is usually two or three people ahead of me and that’s it. For some reason, everyone’s here today.”
MetroCards are typically filled at train stations, the closest from 259th Street and Riverdale Avenue being the 1 train at 242nd Street and Broadway near Van Cortlandt Park. Getting there involves walking down the hill from Riverdale Avenue to Broadway and catching the Bx9 bus. Or the Bx7 or Bx10 bus travels to 231st, a short walk to the 1 train station.
Clare Horn didn’t even know there was a mobile service until friends told her. She almost immediately surfed to the MTA’s website to find the nearest van in her area.
“I just have a need for (the van) now,” Horn said. Previously, Horn drove her car to and from work, and used a MetroCard on occasions when she needed to go into the city. “I was working until the end of January. I was just using a regular MetroCard when I was in the city to go to meetings or whatever. Now that I’m finished, I have time to take care of this.”
Now she uses her card to travel to museums, parks and even on trips to Manhattan.
Mobile MetroCard stations travel to nearly 100 locations around the five boroughs.
The mobile units make four stops in the northwest Bronx:
• West 235th Street and Johnson Avenue, the first and third Wednesdays of the month from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.
• Skyview Shopping Center between West 256th and West 257th streets on the first and third Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m.
• West 231st Street and Broadway on the first and third Wednesdays from 2 to 3 p.m.
• 3887 Sedgwick Ave., on the second and fourth Fridays from 9:30 to 11 a.m.
“I really like it,” Joane said. “I don’t have anything bad to say.”