Today’s Headlines

  • 55 Years After William Vickrey, MTA Interested in Off-Peak Discounts (NYT, Sun)
  • Transit Fare Hikes Are a Regressive Tax (2nd Ave Sagas)
  • "Traffic Mitigation Commission" Meets Today for the First Time (CityRoom)
  • UK Towns Plan a £350 a Year Tax on Workplace Parking Spots (London Times)
  • Researchers Test Pay-As-You-Drive System to Replace Gas Taxes (Planetizen
  • Auto Blog UnHappy at "Eco-Nerds" on Lawn Chairs in Parking Spaces (Jalopnik)
  • DOT Says Initial Round of Safe Routes to School Improvements 97% Done (DOT)
  • Gas Prices High, NYS Thruway Revenues Are Down (Times Union)
  • TfL’s "Think" Ad Campaign is a Wee Bit More Brutal Than DOT’s "Look."
  • And Here is Transport for London’s Bike Advocacy Advert (Rebuilding Place)
  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    From the “UK Towns” article:

    Peter Gibson, the head of public affairs at Boots, said that the WPL was unfair because none of the planned public transport improvements would provide a door-to-door service for employees. One of the new tram lines would come close but staff would still be left with a long walk.

    He said: “There is no real alternative to the car for many people. They would have to take a bus or tram into the city centre and then another one back out to our site.”

    Hm, I wonder why that is, Mr. Gibson. Sounds like Boots chose to locate their facilities in a transit-inaccessible area. Who’s the unfair one here?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “But who are the people who must ride the subways during rush hour? And who are the people who can afford to ride the subways in off-peak hours? Generally, those people making the least are the ones riding during the peak hours. The 9-to-5ers with little job flexibility will have to shoulder the burden of the fare increases.”

    It’s amazing the sort of idiocy you read. Prove it! Not likely because the opposite is true.

    Many affluent people have cars, yet use transit to get to work. Most less well off people do not have cars, and use transit all the time, thus benefitting by the discount.

    In Los Angeles advocates for the poor sued when the monthly pass was raised more than the pay per ride for this very reason.

    And yes the working stiffs have less flexibility, but they are more likely to travel off peak. The guy who provides your morning coffee in the deli was there before the start of rush hour.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    As usual Larry is on to something. The MTA is in the position of having to defend the base fare increase politically when the average fare has been falling because of the discounts and presently I believe is at $1.299. The MTA could actually lower the base fare, cut some discounts and bring in revenue if the base fare is so important. Since the advent of the discounts adjusting the balance between fare programs has become an additional tool for increasing revenue.

    But the off peak relief this proposal offers serves two purposes. First it meshes with congestion pricing. Second, it keeps the question in front of the public more directly as Congestionn Pricing versus Fare Increase in a sort of steel-cage death match.

    Also, the off-peak discounts are also a program to reduce standing room by spreading out capacity utilization. Sort of congestion pricing for mass transit.

  • greg

    but how many people actually have a choice as to when they can commute?? my guess is not too many, especially if off-peak is excessively early or late…therefore i don’t think this will have great impact.

    i also dont understand why a monthly user who is committing to public transit is being penalized with the heftiest price increase?

    the goals should be to make public transit as cheap as possible and driving as expensive as possible

  • Larry Littlefield

    (First it meshes with congestion pricing.)

    And the objections are similar in quality to the class-based objections to congestion pricing.

    Sorry I got so testy, but these kind of nonsense is beginning to weigh on my nerves. No wonder low- and moderate-income households are becoming much worse of public policy wise, with all this nonsense going around.

  • Niccolo Machiavelli

    The class resentment angle is problematic. Funny how class is brought up in this debate but entirely absent from other debates on political economy. Both sides are waving the red flag and are ready to storm the winter palace to protect the working class.

    A good friend of mine who deals with these sort of issues told me that there can never be enough class resentment to make good policy. I’m more worried that culturally the first thing a poor family wants to buy when they move into the middle class is a car.