Skip to Content
Streetsblog New York City home
Streetsblog New York City home
Log In
Michael Bloomberg

Bloomberg 2009 Unveils a Transit Platform, But No Way to Pay for It

Michael Bloomberg's re-election campaign released a 33-point plan for transit today [PDF]. This being a campaign plank, the mayor's transit agenda is full of
ideas that few will oppose: lower fares, better service, and more
efficient management. While there are some smart ideas on the list, the mayor has limited power to deliver on much of what he's promising.

The proposal getting the most ink is his call for
free crosstown bus service, which might be doable. Buses lose a lot of
time as each passenger swipes a MetroCard. Eliminating the fare on poky
crosstown routes could speed service to such a degree that some of the
lost revenue would be recouped by running fewer buses.

Here are more bullet points from Bloomberg's campaign site:

    • Create new commuter van service to provide cost-effective mass transportation service to underserved neighborhoods.
    • Expand CityTicket program to all LIRR and Metro North stations at all times so Bronx and Queens riders pay reduced fares.
    • Install countdown clocks on subway routes to provide riders with time notifications.
    • Pilot light rail or street car services in North Brooklyn and Western Queens waterfront neighborhoods.
    • Expand Bus Rapid Transit to reduce travel times on bus routes in congested areas in all five boroughs.
    • Expand ferry service along the East River.

It's great to see BRT in the mayor's platform (and also a reminder of how long it's taken to deliver on the promise of East Side BRT he made all the way back during his first campaign). Still, some of these ideas are duds. Expanding ferry services, for instance, won't come cheap. Last year, the annual subsidy to run citywide ferry service was pegged at $100 million, and that doesn't include the cost of expensive capital improvements like building docks.

Other ideas, like expanding the CityTicket discount (which will also cost money), are simply tough for the mayor to control, since his influence over the MTA doesn't extend far beyond the bully pulpit.

Congestion pricing -- and the revenue it would generate -- is still the 800-pound gorilla in the room. Bloomberg's platform contains several cost saving recommendations, but no mention of new revenue streams. So, while the thought of investing in light rail for northern Brooklyn and western Queens may send thrills down many a spine -- mine included
-- it's tough to take seriously given the current financial
state of the MTA and the city.

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from Streetsblog New York City

Opinion: Connect the Dots of Manhattan’s Missing Bike Lanes

Only a few miles of missing protected lanes stand in the way of a robust bike network.

April 15, 2024

Monday’s Headlines: Thanking the Academy Edition

We would be remiss if we didn't offer some photos and copy about Friday's George Polk Awards ceremony, plus other news.

April 15, 2024

Civic Panel Pushes For (Some) Atlantic Ave. Safety Upgrades

Brooklyn Community Board 2 stopped short of calling for a more aggressive redesign of a street where drivers have killed six pedestrians in the last decade.

April 15, 2024

Vandals Commit Mass Arborcide Near the Greenway in Kissena Park

Hundreds of young trees were ripped from the ground — some stolen, some just left for dead — near the greenway in Kissena Park in Queens.

April 14, 2024

Friday’s Headlines: The Polk’s on Us Edition

This afternoon, our reporter Jesse Coburn will journey to Midtown to accept Streetsblog's first George Polk Award, one of journalism's highest honors. But before that, here's the news.

April 12, 2024
See all posts