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Octogenarian Transit Gadfly Not Shy About Sharing Opinions With MTA Brass

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He may not live in the city, but Murray Bodin certainly has opinions on the city's buses, subways and trains, ones he's not shy about sharing with Metropolitan Transportation Authority brass. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.

They sing. They shout. But leave it to Murray Bodin to show up for the public speaking portion of MTA meetings with the same homespun wisdom every time.

"Good morning. Can you see my fire engines from up there?" he says.

"So why don't we stop blowing the train whistles? Toot, toot! Well, because red fire engines are nicer than white or yellow," he also says.

For this 80-year-old sculptor - no, he's not a fireman - it's the time of the month to point out what he thinks is wrong with city transit in front of sometimes exasperated Metropolitan Transportation Authority officials.

Official: Please conclude your remarks, Mr. Bodin.
Bodin: I'm not ready! Then what? You're going to carry me out? Go ahead!

For the monthly meetings, he takes the train from Westchester to MTA headquarters in Midtown to pack his opinions into two minutes, give or take a few. Mentions of fire engine colors to make a point are never far off.

"Are we willing to give up traditions that we've had for years and years and years and do something new? That's what the fire engine's about," he says. "It's easy to explain about what's a safer color. The safer color is yellow. You can see it. But we still use red because tradition."

For the past 18 years, Bodin's tradition is being a pest to transit officials. Even his business card identifies him as one.

Bodin, a self-proclaimed gadfly, doesn't limit himself to just the MTA. He also is a regular at New Jersey meetings of the Port Authority and New Jersey Transit.

He insists that he's not just a retiree with too much time on his hands but a student of transit systems.

"I go on a subway. I go on a bus. I try it to see how it works. I go through the toll booths," he says.

Jeanne Bodin, his wife of 41 years, says she's used to it all by now.

"When he retired, he said, 'What am I going to do with myself?' And I said, 'I don't know, try to save the world.' And he decided that saving the world meant saving the transportation system of New York," she says.

One meeting at a time.

Got A Transit Tip?

Do you have a news tip or story idea about the city's transit systems? Send an email to NY1 Transit Reporter Jose Martinez.

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