Today’s Headlines

  • From Transit Stops to Free Parking: NYPD Won’t Ticket Motorists for Parking in Old Bus Stops (WNYC)
  • City Shuts Down Private Bus Operator Trying to Recreate Discontinued MTA Service (News)
  • Crain’s "25 Big Ideas" for New York Include Light Rail, BRT, End to Cheap On-Street Parking
  • Bronx Community Boards Split Over City’s Car-Sharing Initiative (YourNabe)
  • Did MTA Undersell Atlantic Yards Naming Rights? (Metro)
  • Newsday: Long Island Needs Transit-Oriented Development at Huntington Station
  • No Plea Bargain in Leandra DWI Case (News)
  • July 4 DWI Victim’s Daughter Speaks Out (News)
  • Pedicab Drivers "Not All a Bunch of Lawless Renegades," Post Admits
  • Cleveland’s Healthline BRT Failing to Deliver Promised Speeds (Plain Dealer)
  • Larry Littlefield

    “The operator has been running an unauthorized bus line, and safety is the city’s paramount priority.”

    So were there safety violations?

    The city may regret this. People are going to have to find a way to live in this city as public services collapse, due to funds shifted to debts and the retired. Sure TransitAzumah may not be able to offer the same deal to riders, or one year in retirement for each year worked to drivers, but then neither can the MTA anymore on these routes.

    What next? Banning home schooling?

  • # Did MTA Undersell Atlantic Yards Naming Rights? (Metro)

    I covered this story back in June and came to a few conclusions that differ with Metro’s approach. The first is that SEPTA is selling the entire station name so instead of Pattison/Broad, that station will be the AT&T station. It’s a terminal of the Broad St. line so every announcement will be “This is an AT&T-bound subway.” That’s easily worth a lot to any company.

    The other is that New York’s approach is better but will generate less money. When the naming rights deal kicks in, the name of the station will be “Atlantic Ave./Pacific St/Barclays Center” or “Barclays Center/Atlantic Ave./Pacific St.” The station will keep its geographic identifiers and will still be useful as a navigation aid.

    I don’t think the MTA is underselling the naming rights. I just think they want to keep the useful parts of a station name still attached to that station.

  • From what I’m hearing about the car share parking proposal, the community boards are not having split votes, but are either voting overwhelmingly for or overwhelmingly against. I think drivers either see it as a short-term practical benefit (free up more spots for us!) or as a long-term attack on the driving lifestyle (alternatives to car ownership are un-American! anything that repurposes a parking spot for anything other than free unlimited use is Communism!).

  • Why is the city going after TransitAzumah? Aren’t they filling a critical gap in the mass transit network created by the MTA service reductions?

    Streetsblog, this seems like a story worth pursuing.

  • Shemp

    Even if you are philosophically good with private transit, do you think the city should just permit unlicensed operators to just hang out a shingle whereever they feel like it?

  • Larry Littlefield

    Ideally no. But the city regulatory regime has been politicized for I don’t know how long, and cannot be relied upon. How many years, and how much in lawyer and court fees, do you think it would take Azumah to get a license?

  • Philosophically, I’m against making cities more auto-dependent, which is precisely what the New York City did when it failed to maintain previous contribution levels to the MTA and thus contributed to the current round of service reductions.

    So, having failed to provide an essential service to its residents, the City proceeds to shut someone down who steps in to fill that gap. That’s what I don’t like, because everyone loses. If safety is the concern, couldn’t the City have found a more constructive approach, such as working with Azumah to ensure safety concerns are properly addressed?

  • Bolwerk

    Safety is almost always a smokescreen for another agenda. The most unsafe mode of transportation is the automobile. Those who say we need to keep conductors and token booth clerks, or should ban any other safer-than-automobile transportation, in the name of safety are blowing smoke up long as they tolerate the automobile. Sadly, it’s often a TWU agenda because they’re afraid of competition. I doubt private operators hurt the MTA, and they probably have a great deal of potential to benefit it by feeding more passengers to the rail and systems.

  • @Benjamin,

    The problem with the Barclays naming-rights deal is that in all likelihood, Ratner told the MTA what he would pay, and that was that. Much like with the sale of the Vanderbilt Yard, the MTA failed to explore the possibility of better options.

    Sure, the MTA takes a lot of unjustified abuse, but everything about Atlantic Yards has been an unmitigated disaster, IMHO.

  • J:Lai

    “Even if you are philosophically good with private transit, do you think the city should just permit unlicensed operators to just hang out a shingle whereever they feel like it?”

    Very much so, yes.

    Theoretically, the role of the city government should be to monitor and enforce safety through licensing, inspections, fines, etc. In reality, and particularly in NYC, licensing and regulation in many (most?) industries make it prohibitively difficult and expensive for all but the biggest and/or most well-connected operators to comply with the regulations. Furthermore, it is at best questionable whether regulation achieves its goal of ensuring minimum safety standards.

    The best possible solution would be an adequately funded transit system that provides enough service to meet demand. This is clearly not going to happen.

    Without private operators filling in for missing or inadequate service, we are going to give up a lot of mobility.

    I would much rather have unregulated private operators than no service at all, and that is the choice we are facing.

  • I would argue that even a fully-funded public transit system is not the ideal. Public operators tend to be very inflexible about altering schedules to accommodate demand spikes on short notice, because doing so doesn’t benefit managers in any way.

    They also tend to be very conservative about expanding transit, because they come under so much fire for cutting anything. Why experiment with an innovative new route? Chances are you’re going to get yelled at by the Community Board.

  • … and therefore, the ideal transit system would have public operators running the “coverage” service and private ones running the “patronage” routes.

  • Cap’n: what you say depends more on the nature of local political and managerial culture than on whether the operator is private or public. When routes change very rapidly without notice, you get glorified jitney service. It might work if all you want is chaotic transit, but you won’t get the organized scheduled transfers that have made such cities as Zurich and Vienna world leaders in transit ridership.

  • RE: Bus stops to free parking

    Along Valencia St. in San Francisco, the combination of multiple parallel bus routes left many such “abandoned” bus stop zones.

    Their solution: several have been converted to on-street bike parking corrals on this highly-trafficked bike corridor. Sounds like the kind of free parking conversion I could support. I understand others are being used to widen sidewalks or create “parklets” (mini parks), shorten street crossing distances, etc.