Pictures of zip ties holding together a new R186 car are drawing outrage online, but to me the real scandal is the reliance on "specially designed brackets".

"The ties are a back-up way of securing a cable on the subway car. It's used in conjunction with other fasteners," said MTA spokeswoman Beth DeFalco. "It's 100 percent safe and only used on some cars on the #7 line. We have a specially designed bracket that is being engineered and is set to be installed in the next few weeks."

The need for a "specially designed bracket" to secure a cable undoubtedly contributes to the disastrous condition of the New York subway. It's extremely expensive to design unique parts for such simple applications, and the MTA would save some money if their suppliers could standardize more efficiently. Zip ties probably aren't the right answer (haha), but just think of the advantages they brings: they're cheap, and they can secure anything. Why "specially design" a custom bracket instead of creating a strong, permanent fastener with the versatility of a zip tie?

An MTA engineer will no doubt respond: "silly blogger, it's not that easy!" Sure, I'm simplifying, but there's no way that something as simple as securing a cable should require a custom fastener.

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