The Brodsky Alternative, Take Two: $6.50 to Enter a Cab

His license plate rationing scheme beloved by none, this afternoon Assemblyman Richard Brodsky offered his second congestion pricing alternative: raising the $2.50 taxi "drop charge" to $6.50, increasing fines for illegal parking and blocking the box, and further cutting the number of parking placards issued to government employees.

513676288_7655361182.jpgBrodsky says the taxi fare hike alone would reduce VMT by up to 1.9 percent, and along with its other measures the plan would lower VMT by between 4.4 and 5.6 percent. According to Brodsky, his plan clearly qualifies the city for $354 million in federal transit funds, while congestion pricing does not.

Brodsky estimates the taxi fare hike would raise $187 million for transit annually, and along with other "reforms" would bring in up to $372 million per year.

The other plans burden average citizens, especially those in the boroughs outside Manhattan, place an access fee on public streets for the first time in American history, let out-of-state and suburban commuters off the hook, and ignore the single biggest cause of Zone congestion. We shift the focus to the group that actually causes the problem, that is better able to afford the increase cost of travel, and avoid costly and bureaucratic systems of cameras and payment that weigh down the other plans. We do not change the environmental reviewlaws, do not raise taxes on Zone residents, do not place a fee on travel on the FDR and Westside Drives. Our plan is simpler, easier, fairer, and more effective.

The plan outline (pdf) also contains vague language about limiting taxis to north-south corridors below 86th Street and encouraging telecommuting.

Brodsky claims to have support from 30 lawmakers, including members of the state Assembly and the City Council (among them: Fidler, Weprin, Dinowitz, Hevesi and Lancman). Six appeared with Brodsky a press conference today. Aaron Naparstek attended and will have more details tomorrow.

As for initial public reaction, judging from comments on City Room Brodsky may have finally succeeded in rallying the public behind congestion pricing.

Photo: the dancing kids/Flickr 

  • the disabled and temp disable, sick people going to doctors and hospitals get hit very hard by any taxi increase and penalty.
    the nyc subway system is far from accessible and damn scary to navigate in a wheel chair. NYC is far behind london in accessible issues , in london the taxis are accessible for wc user to roll in and roll out and have been for a long time. i think nyc has 24 wc accessible taxis

  • Ed

    Hilary, I stand corrected, I did misread. Yet I still don’t understand the connection to the city’s survival to the success or failure of congestion pricing now.

    Larry, you imply that the problem with two of the lines that I mentioned would be solved with more funding (leaving out mention of the L train and its use of new technology and continual overcrowding, thus, not solving the problem that the technology was to help solve). Think this out. We will put more people on the trains prior to any improvements that are needed to carry those people and we are going to use these magical funds that are hopefully dedicated to mass transit. But last year, prior to the fare increase, the MTA had a surplus, then was in the red, then found more money but still there was an increase. The 2nd avenue line was funded and now that we are approaching the deadline for CP, we find that it is unfunded. Lots of funny numbers going on here. Do we really think that will stop once this pool of money is sitting there?

    Lots of pols have recently stated their misgivings regarding a huge pool of money that isn’t 100% legally dedicated to mass transit. The majority of the public feels the same way according to today’s poll.

    And why now, only weeks before the vote is Bloomberg addressing residential parking? Couldn’t this have been done sooner? And parking placards? We recently found out that there are 140,000 public parking placards out there, again, only weeks before the vote. CP is a way for Bloomberg to put his stamp on NY like the failed stadium was to be. The stadium as well as CP are flashy but don’t address real world issues. To me, his administration is manipulating information to make it seems as though CP is the only way to save mass transit. However, we all know that is not true.

  • “Lots of pols have recently stated their misgivings regarding a huge pool of money that isn’t 100% legally dedicated to mass transit. The majority of the public feels the same way according to today’s poll.”

    Having misgivings about funds going where they are promised doesn’t mean you don’t want the funds at all. Like other questions on the poll, that one was terrible: [do you believe] “that congestion pricing funds will be used to improve mass transit”? What does that even mean? That 100% of the funds will be used to improve transit? 0% of the funds…? Isn’t it possible that some will and some won’t? All the question is really asking is if they’re pessimistic about NY politics, and quelle surprise 54% of the respondents said yes.

    I’m just not feeling this call to inaction over doubts of complete success.

  • Juan Pablo Montoya

    As I understand it, raising revenue ‘for transit’ through taxi trips that usually could have been done using mass transit… Instead of taxing trucks, and business that don’t have a mass transit option seems like a fair concept.

  • Ian Turner


    And access-a-ride is not a suitable alternative for those with disabilities because…..?

  • hmph

    …. the drivers of access-a-ride vans are 1)maniacs (just ask any cyclist), 2) rarely on time, 3) not available when needed at the spur of a moment 24/7 etc etc.

    galvo is spot on re. the horror of navigating the subway in a wheelchair. i am not mobility disabled, but have travelled to airports etc with lotsa luggage and, hell, there are so few functioning elevators in the damn system, its appalling!!! in fact the NYT did a story on the travails of one wheelchair bound traveller. sheesh, this is the 21st century. get it together MTA!!!! most, if not all, european cities’ subway systems are FAR MORE accessible.

  • Dave

    To those of you who argue against CP on the basis that there is no guarantee that 100% would be used for mass-transit: Few things in life are 100% guaranteed except for the fact that the city will lose $350 million in federal mass transit funds if CP is not passed.

    The fact that Brodsky’s stupid taxi fare increase is actually being discussed amazes me. Rather than reducing traffic it will increase it as the rich outer-borough residents and wealthy suburbanites will hae no dsincentiv to drive in the city.

    And as a car-owning city resident I will drive everywhere as it will be cheaper to drive and pay parking garage rates than to pay round-trip taxi fares. The ones hurt will be the poor and middle-class who need to take taxis every now and then for health, convenience and other issues.

    Wake up and realize that Brodsky is a city-hater who proposes stupid, idiotic proposals that hurt the average city-dweller and favor his rich Westchester constituents. He has NO business telling us how the city should be run since he is not from here.

    Tell Brodsky to get lost and rally for the return of the commuter tax (is Bruno gone yet?) the imposition of CP and RPP so that his rich constituents will have top pay through their privileged noses to drive into the city.

  • Ed, my contact info is on my webpage at


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