Today’s Headlines

  • MTA Previews Unlimited Ride, Commuter Rail Increases (NYT, Post)
  • Brodsky Wants Specifics (Daily Politics)
  • City Investigating Parking Placard Handouts; Bloomberg Cites ‘Abuse’ (Post)
  • Times Links Rail Neglect to Air Traffic Congestion (NYT
  • Localities Turn to Tolls for Transpo Funds (C.S. Monitor)
  • Brooklyn Waterfront Meeting Draws Big Lively Crowd (Metro)
  • Parents Direct Traffic at Riverdale School (Riverdale Press
  • Cyclists Should Be More Involved in Advocacy (Grist
  • SUV Collides With Miami Bus; Which Has More Passengers? (Transit Miami
  • Larry Littlefield

    (SUV Collides With Miami Bus; Which Has More Passengers?)

    The SUV. It’s like I said earlier, according to Department of Energy data the average bus is barely more fuel efficient than the average SUV.

    Now that data just assumes a highly generous 1.6 passengers per trip for the SUV, and I’ll bet when Mom drives the kids somewhere Mom is counted, but the bus driver is not. But still.

    It isn’t just fuel efficiency; one needs to fill the seats. Meanwhile, NYC Transit buses run nearly empty all night long. Paying car services to take the runs would be much more fuel efficient. (However, recall union-based City Council objections to having the city contract with smaller private ferries for the overnight runs on the Staten Island ferry).

  • anon

    good point. we need to be open to flexible transportation, rather than take criticism of transit personally. those fuel efficiency numbers are surprising.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (those fuel efficiency numbers are surprising.)

    They are national numbers, not NY area numbers. I’m sure buses are much more fuel efficient than SUVs and autos in metro NY, but not in podunk.

    There, transit operators are caught between the need to provide at least some frequency to have merely horrible service, low transit use, and low population densities.

  • Angus Grieve-Smith

    And unlimited ride MetroCards and bonus pay-per-ride MetroCards possibly face even steeper increases.

    “At the most basic arithmetic level, obviously if you hold constant one portion of your revenues, then by definition other revenues will have to be raised to make up that difference,” said the authority’s chief financial officer, Gary J. Dellaverson, referring to bus and subway fares.

    Where did they get the idea that we want them to hold the $2 base fare constant, instead of the $76 monthly fare? Is that Spitzer’s doing? What’s he thinking?

  • rlb

    From a ridership standpoint, I think it makes more sense to raise the unlimited ride than the base fare. People that use unlimited rides are hooked, and changing their average ride price from 1.30 to 1.35 won’t affect too many people’s decision making.
    Changing the $2 base fare to what they consider the next reasonable round number seems more likely to have that adverse impact.

  • Larry Littlefield

    (Where did they get the idea that we want them to hold the $2 base fare constant, instead of the $76 monthly fare?)

    The MTA has been bashed for having high fares, despite having the fare actually paid plunge since 1995 relative to their costs. You didn’t hear the Straphangers saying the real fare is down X percent relative to inflation, did you?

    In addition, at their public engagement session most of those there were in favor of undoing discounts rather than raising the fare.

    There is a “whatever the MTA does is wrong” attitude.

    In Los Angeles, advocates for the poor sued to keep the monthly down, on the grounds that those without cars use transit all the time while the affluent use it periodically (teens to the mall). But here, when the MTA did so, advocates claimed the poor rely on the pay per ride and pay the base fare, since they never have more than $4.00 at a time. It may not be true, but it gets you in the newspaper.

    Given the political situation and “save the fare” grandstanding, I think the right policy may be to eliminate the 6 for 5 and unlimited ride, keep the peak period fare at $2.00, and drop the base fare to $1.50.

  • If Washington stopped short-changing the rail system and followed the European model, traveling a few hundred miles could take about the same time as flying when you account for waiting time.

    It would also help if Amtrak didn’t do things like suspending service between New Haven and Boston to replace a bridge:

    http://capntransit.blogspot.com/2007/11/thames-river-ct-what-if.html

  • I meant to emphasize: suspending service for four days their second-busiest route (counting New York-Boston and New York-DC as separate routes).

  • Hilary

    Re the fares: Someone from MTA explained to me that “smart cards” — the next generation of fare and toll technology we should be planning for — enables a consumer to be charged whatever fare is best for him/her at the end of the period. That is, if it turns out that the daily free pass would have saved you money, that’s what you’re charged for. It sounds like a great system for encouraging ridership and saving transaction costs. (If it is like EZ-Pass in requiring a user to open an account with a credit card and deposit, that would have to be addressed for those unable to do so.) The only technology I can imagine that solves the problem (for MTA) of sharing unlimited cards (I confess to this abuse)is fingerpad identification.

    Re the parking placards: the numbers do not include parking permits for teachers and the press (and probably many others). The placard system is unenforceable as it is now. There have to be “smart placards” which tally the times and locations of all USES of the permits, which each agency would have to account for. The agencies could be given an overall cap or some other measure and let them control how they assign the privilege. The system now is utterly (and conveniently) primitive and contains no way to combat the abuse of permit-holders who use it for non-business.

  • Hilary

    More on the MTA fares: I objected to the premise at the public workshop that tolls and fare hikes should be revenue neutral. Why? If we’re talking about congestion pricing, haven’t we cleared that hurdle?? Isn’t everyone agreed on the principle that mode shifting is as much a goal as collecting revenue? I can understand the principle of keeping the increases neutral among regions (e.g., NJ, NY and CT) but MODE?

  • ddartley

    About cycling advocacy:

    If you’re looking to buy bike accessories (lights, fenders, etc.), I strongly recommend buying from Planet Bike (www.planetbike.com) if possible.

    They claim to donate a remarkable 25% of their proceeds to cycling advocacy.

    If you’re a member of an advocacy organization such as T.A. and they’re shipping something to you, they waive the shipping cost.

    Finally, they’ll sell you replacement parts–even on their small items–so, for instance, you don’t have to buy a whole new light if a tiny piece of the plastic clip breaks off, and, even better, your damaged one doesn’t have to end up on its way to a landfill.

    (and no, I’m not affiliated with them!)

  • mork

    Hilary–

    There’s nothing that prohibits sharing your unlimited MetroCard.

    http://mta.info/metrocard/termsunltd.htm lists the terms and conditions:

    Conditions of Use

    Cannot be used again at the same subway station or the same bus route for 18 minutes. The acceptance or solicitation of compensation for use of an Unlimited Ride MetroCard by other than authorized agents of MTA New York City Transit is prohibited.

    Use of Unlimited Ride MetroCard is subject to MTA New York City Transit tariff.

    And that’s everything.

  • Hilary

    Then why is it illegal to sell swipes?

  • Hilary

    Oops sorry. Your citation explained that!