McCaffrey: The Subway is Crowded. Let’s Keep it That Way.



Walter McCaffrey’s Committee to Keep New York City Congestion Tax Free has torn a page from StreetFilms’ book and put out its very own propaganda video.

The quiet, elegant two-minute SubFilm shows crowds of people using New York City’s subway system with quotes like, "Here come the sardines," mixed in.

The producers clearly intended this video as an argument against Mayor Bloomberg’s traffic relief and transit improvement proposals but it’s hard not to come away from it thinking: Yes, subways are crowded. Let’s get congestion pricing up and running to pay for new transit capacity.

Clarence, you might want to call Walter and offer your services.

  • Charlie D.

    Wow, look, people using the subway. And it’s crowded. Shocking.

    Why didn’t he put video of what’s happening with all the cars on the streets ABOVE the subway? I would assume they are all flowing freely and easily, unlike these poor cattle below.

  • Clarence

    Am I wrong or did they chose the Mayor’s subway stop to film this? Almost all the footage looks like it was shot on the same platform at 77nd Street on the Lex Line? Is that where he boards?

    The video is way too long in making its point. 30 seconds or 1 minute would have done it.

  • howiehedd

    I got the first comment in on youtube.

    Lets see some more!

  • rhubarbpie

    Obvious response to this ad: subways are too crowded already, and you want to make them more crowded?!!!! That’s the effective message that this ad work.

  • rhubarbpie

    Let me try that again, from the middle of my above post: …That’s the message that this video conveys, and it’s one that is clearly resounding with people, like it or not. (Not to mention that the mayor discounted the crowding on the subway a week or two ago: “It’s New York,” he said. “What do you expect?” or some such nonsense.

  • Living in a region where virtually all transit riders are low income folks and students, my response was, this looks like a pretty nice transit system that serves a lot of people of all income levels. Imagine if they were all driving around up on the streets, each in their own cars. Sure, it looks crowded, but nobody looks exasperated.

  • Congestion Pricing? No, not yet

    About the film -it appears to be an efficient mass transit system that is working.

    “The city has got to clean up its act before it it introduces congestion pricing,” said former city Transportation Commissioner Sam Schwartz (wcbs 6/19/2007).

    I share the same idea, that if illegal placard abuse goes away, then congestion pricing becomes a moot point.
    How so?:
    1. NYC has already lost $250-million in parking meter revenue alone since 9/11 [Schaller report 2006 – NYC loses $46-million a year due to illegal placard abuse].
    2. According to Marcia Kramer’s wcbstv.com story (6/19/2007), there are an estimated 150,000 placards out there. Even if this were reduced by half, through enforcement of already existing No Permit Zone laws and placard restrictions, traffic congestion and parking problems would be immensely reduced; not to mention – better air pollution conditions, and the increased revenue from greater mass transit ridership, and of course $46-million a year, to pay for greater and better mass transit, in regained parking meter revenue.
    3. Finally, of primary importance – The increased quality of life, with placard abuse gone, is obviously priceless.

    Which comes first, nixing illegal placard abuse or congestion pricing? To me, it’s a no-brainer.

    One also needs to ask the Mayor: With congestion pricing – Will 150,000 government employees using parking placards be exempted, or not? If placard abusers are exempted from congestion pricing, then NYC will be doubly screwed – another reason to take care of placard abuse first.

    Lifelong Downtown Manhattan Resident

  • jmc

    I wouldn’t imagine that placards would influence EZ-pass, which will be the predominant collection system. I doubt they do now.

  • Hilary Kitasei

    I watched this without sound and thought it was the most effective pro-subway piece I can imagine! The people who avoid the subway today are those who still think it is like the 80s and 90s — empty, dirty, dangerous. This looked civilized, efficient, and above all SAFE. This was no random crowd. This could have been a crowd pushing into Bergdorf’s, or at least Grand Central Station. Can this be used with different captions?

  • gecko

    NYC is a trillion dollar real estate market and one of the densest populations in the world teaming with the headquarters of major world class private and public institutions; center of the world’d third largest economy.

    Doesn’t make sense that congestion pricing and even much better such as low-cost human-powered transport and transit are having such difficulties. There’s a lot of self-interest for those who run this world to move this stuff forward. It’s really bad business not to.

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