Music on the Job: Subway Workers
The subways serve as the work setting for a considerable number of people. In addition to musicians and the transit police, TA station managers and lower-level employees establish a regular presence in subway space, as do concession stand workers who lease property from the MTA. (Panhandlers, itinerant vendors, homeless advocates, and representatives of religious groups and charitable organizations are not discussed directly in this chapter but might also be considered regular subway workers.)
During interviews and in survey responses, members of these groups indicated that they were very aware of the presence of musicians underground. Their reactions varied according to their personal tastes, their opinions on the appropriate use of subway space, and their power relative to that of the musicians. Station managers, for instance, are responsible for monitoring rule enforcement in the stations under their charge. This chapter begins with interviews I conducted with the managers in three of the busiest stations, revealing the various ways in which they attempt both to abide by TA regulations and to accommodate musicians.
Next, I present the results of the survey I distributed in December 1993 to station supervisors, platform conductors, assistant train dispatchers, and hourly employees. In 1989 the TA cited employee complaints when it proposed new rules and the MTA did the same when it adopted the rules banning amplification devices from subway platforms. According to my survey results, employees continue to have