More phones being reported lost on subways and buses than ever before
Lose your phone on the subway or bus? You're far from alone.
More than 25,000 phones have been reported lost on the city's subways and buses since May 2007, with each year seeing an increase over the last, according to MTA data. So far this year, 3,162 phones have been reported lost, up from 3,142 this time last year.
The uptick in lost phones is thanks to increased cellphone ownership, as well as higher numbers of New Yorkers using their phones on subways and buses than they have in the past, the MTA said.
"Generally speaking, it's a simple correlation to the fact that more people have cellphones today than a few years ago," said MTA spokesman Kevin Ortiz. "More phones means more likely to be lost."
Ortiz added that "customers are using their phones more during travel" to play games, listen to music and do all the other things smartphones are capable of. Also a factor is the increase in cellphone calls thanks to growing connectivity underground, Ortiz said.
According to the data, more phones are lost during the summer, along with a bump in October, and January and February clock the fewest lost phones.
All lost phones - as well as any other items lost on the subway or bus - go to New York City Transit's Lost Property Unit in the at 34th Street-Penn Station hub, and phones that go unclaimed for six months are auctioned off in bulk. (The MTA didn't have recovery rates for phones, but said that overall recovery for all items is around 42%.)
Hank Royce, 27, was living in Harlem and commuting on the D train when put down his iPhone 4 after playing "Angry Birds" and absent-mindedly left it on the subway last August. He filed a report with the MTA the same day, checking in every few days to see if it turned up, but it was gone for good.
"I felt that the only reason the MTA has a lost and found is to make it seem that their is some kind of recourse if something like that happens," Royce said. Still, he said, "I obviously am the one who lost" the phone."I was of course very frustrated to say the least," his wife, Lydia, said of the process. "iPhone's aren't cheap."
Joanna Pasquarelli, 25, of Washington Heights, lost an iPhone 4S on the A train after a night of partying, but said she didn't even bother filing a report because she didn't think anyone would turn in the phone.
"It was gone," she said. "I knew it was a goner. What was the likelihood of someone turning it in? I hope there are still people out there decent enough to do that, but Ijust figured my chances were slim."
Steve Campos, 30, of Bay Ridge, also lost a phone on the train, but agreed that the chances of anyone turning in a lone phone they find a train are slim.
"I mean, it's New York," he said. "It's gone dude."
He added: "What's the point ? If one person sees it and doesn't pick it up, the next one will."
Here are the phones reported lost to the MTA by year:
2007* -- 1031
2008 -- 3858
2009 -- 3895
2010 -- 4073
2011 -- 4484
2012 -- 4596
2013** -- 3162
*Data for 2007 includes only May through December
**Data for 2013 goes up to Aug. 22