Today’s Headlines

  • Key Players Aren’t Rejecting Congestion Pricing Out of Hand This Time (NYT)
  • State Lawmakers Want Cuomo to Can His MTA Extortion Gambit (NYT)
  • Lhota Says a “Freedom Ticket” Pilot Is Coming This Year (AMNY)
  • Attention Straphangers: Don’t Stop Tweeting About Subpar Transit Service (News)
  • Hearing Andy Byford Talk Up Buses (and Bikes) Will Do Your Heart Good (WNYC, News)
  • Ravitch Wishes Media Would Stop Making MTA Coverage About Cuomo vs. de Blasio … (AMNY)
  • … And the Voice Shows How It’s Done
  • Jim Dwyer: Subway Riders Deserve Nice Things (NYT)
  • Cy Vance Lets NYPD Prosecute Police Brutality Protestors for Jaywalking (News)
  • Trottenberg Corrects Queens Chronicle Story That Inflated 111th Street Crash Data
  • Bike Snob’s Alter Ego Counters Bronx CB 8 Opposition to Riverdale Ave. Upgrades (Press)

More headlines at Streetsblog USA

  • Larry Littlefield

    Dwyer is right. Everyone seems to want to stand up for transit riders by taking something away from them. Next up — fight for the subway by eliminating the LIRR third track.

    This foreshadows what is coming with federal taxes and old benefits.

    The Democrats will “fight for the young” by demanding another big increase on their work income to save their benefits — after the last member of Generation Greed has retired and no longer has work income.

    And the Republicans will “fight for the young” by slashing their future old age benefits to prevent a massive tax increase — while grandfathering the benefits of members of Generation Greed who have “time to adjust.”

    And while the total compensation of MTA employees has been brought out in the open, notice that no one has talked about how much of that compensation is filling the pension hole caused by retroactive increases for the early retired, not current workers?

    Step one: admit the future has been robbed, and identify who benefitted. And THEN begin the conversation about who should have to pay more, or accept less, and in what form.

  • sbauman

    Sam Schwartz, an architect of the Move NY plan who was also on the task force, said that the task force was charged with finding ways to reduce congestion in Manhattan — so the other boroughs, and the bridge tolls there, were beyond the scope of its work.

    Sam has mastered consultancy. If the cure’s unintended consequences are worse than the disease, the consultant’s response is “scope.” It wasn’t part of the problem specification.

    Tom Lehrer expressed better in his song about Werner Von Braun: “Once the rockets go up, who cars where they come down, that’s not my department, says Werner Von Braun”.

  • Fool

    As funding is going to be an issue in perpetuity, and provide a distraction from cost management.

    Maybe all special taxes and state/city funding to the MTA should be revoked. Have the fare support the total costs. Then the state welfare function and local municipalities can provide direct subsidies on the fare.

    Checks user name.

  • bolwerk

    What the fuck is with the New York Times’ wistful masturbatory pieces on just about every topic? I got no problem with public art, and as close as that author came to quantifying anything was to point out the art is actually not that expensive.

    Still, to the question “What if the problem is that our subway stations and all our
    infrastructure are not treated as public treasures, and are instead too utilitarian, too trampled, so purposefully unpleasant that no one cares when things are going wrong until the whole place starts falling down?” the answer is a simple “Um. No.”

    Millions of people use that infrastructure daily. They care. They want to get where they’re going, and it means a lot to them to be able to do it, even if they take it a little for granted. I can’t speak for all of them, but I for one barely notice anything about subway art through my groggy caffeine consumption phase. I do notice when my ride is halted for no obvious reason besides it’s normal now, and I’m late even though I left early.

  • bolwerk

    Knowing what I do of how sensitive this whole topic is to politicians, I’m not sure I disbelieve him. Going beyond the scope of your contract is usually a surefire way to lose it.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Cost management = less money for those who donate to the campaigns of state and local politicians. That’s what people aren’t getting. They own us.

    The Senate Republicans are now hurrumphing about cost management in the context of the congestion pricing charge. After having voted very recently to hand back all the small extra contributions MTA managers were once required to pay in exchange for being able to retire at age 55 instead of 62. A very small contribution whose purpose was to pretend that “we paid for it.”

  • Joe R.

    Same here. So long as the trains/stations are relatively clean and well lit to me it’s more important that rapid transit live up to it’s name than that I feel like I’m going to an art museum.

  • Joe R.

    Perhaps but if you do that then do as Larry often suggests. Have a base fare which covers basic maintenance and operating costs, plus a surcharge which covers past labor retroactive pension increases, overstaffing, and other things which add nothing of value for today’s rider. My guess is you might have a basic fare of $2 or so, plus a surcharge of $5. Let the general public see how much these under the table deals cost them. That’s the first step to repealing them.

  • Vooch

    it’s a NYT editor’s significant other who is concerned about losing her cushy gig ( due to nepotism ) as a arts consultant to the MTA. So she has her friend write a column gushing about MTA arts.

    See Larry’s daily comments 🙂

  • Vooch

    truth this

  • 1ifbyrain2ifbytrain
  • Larry Littlefield

    Here is something to think about. Analysts believe that the cost of autonomous electric rideshare vehicles, with no drivers, will fall to just $1.00 per mile from $2.50 per mile now. That includes the capital cost of the vehicle.

    MTA operating costs per passenger mile — including the ROW, but not including the capital cost of the vehicle — were 48 cents for the subway, 49 for Metro North, 58 for the LIRR. And including neither the capital cost of the vehicle or the cost of the ROW, $1.71 for NYCT Bus, and $1.73 for the MTA Bus company. Paratransit, $8.04.

    This implies that at some point the TWU will be charging so much for lousy service for anything other than a ride to a congested pace such as Manhattan, that even with subsidy, it would make no sense to use public transit. Private transit would take its place.

    You think Uber and Lyft are wiping out buses now, just wait for that. Bicycles, electric bikes, etc.

    As soon as this sort of thing becomes an alternative for those now using local bus service, it should probably go away, with buses limited to BRT routes with lower per mile costs and faster service.

  • MFS

    Sam has been putting together MoveNY with his collaborators essentially unpaid for a decade, and came up with the toll trade as part of that process. This is not a consulting gig for him. The leaving out of the boro-boro bridge toll drop was likely a way for Cuomo to have something to offer. I wouldn’t attribute conceptual flaws or departures from MoveNY in the report to him.

  • Larry Littlefield

    The big picture is Generation Greed is destroying everything shared in pursuit of its vast individual need fulfillment — business, family, state and local government — and leaving wreckage behind. Elsewhere, it may be about not wanting to pay taxes, but here it’s about pillage by the political/union class.

    So what do we do? A lot of the future money has already been taken. It’s gone.

    Maybe if they are right about $1 per passenger mile, the electric bike crackdown goes away, and congestion pricing can be used to prevent autonomous shared vehicles from overwhelming congested, rail-served areas, there is a way out of this, at least on the transportation side.

    People are out there trying to create to make up for what the powerful are using control of the government and existing corporations to destroy.

  • reasonableexplanation

    The $1.00/$2.50 per mile numbers are interesting.

    The IRS rate for mileage reimbursement is $0.54/mile. My own calculations for a $20k car, assuming you pay it off in 5 years, gives me $0.53/ per mile for the first five years, and then $0.27/mile afterwards.

    So I’m assuming the $1.00/mile number is due to the higher initial cost of the self driving car. I wonder how society and transit will be affected when the rideshare cost reaches parity with the $0.50/mile number.

  • kevd

    “Winsor, who was arrested, was cleared in October when another judge ruled that police lied in testimony about her blocking a sidewalk during a rally”

    Is there a perjury charge pending against this mystery officer?

  • Guest

    The total gridlock that would result from dramatically lower costs and no need for a skilled driver (picture schoolkids and grannies roaming around independently in autonomous vehicles) would surely make the subways much more competitive, along with any buses that get their own lanes.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Depends on the location.

    This sort of thing could make something other than auto-transit doable in places that are not dense enough for mass transit.

    Moreover, some kind of autonomous shared ride vehicles could allow places to gradually move across the suburban to urban density chasm.

    Rather than falling into the chasm where density is too low for lots of stuff within walking/biking distance and cost effective BRT or rail transit — but too dense for driving and parking to be anything but a nightmare.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Might not stay at $0.50. With DeBlasio and Cuomo both seeking to run for President additional pension increases are inevitable.

  • bolwerk

    If automation happens rationally, it will probably replace less used bus routes with vehicles of various sizes between a 4-person passenger sedan and a current bus. But they’re still going to have to have vehicles sized to meet the day’s highest demand.

    But if it really proceeds rationally, it shakes up transit in odd ways. If you can really go without an attendant, a few decades’ of savings on labor could help finance a fixed route on some busier routes.

  • sbauman

    I wouldn’t attribute conceptual flaws or departures from MoveNY in the report to him.

    There’s a big conceptual flaw in both MoveNY, FixNYC and other congestion pricing proposals.

    That flaw is the additional operating cost incurred by the subway system due to motorists switching from cars to subways. The switch from cars to subways is viewed as a “feature” and 100% of the additional fare revenues are included in the funds generated for the subways.

    The additional operating cost for these fares isn’t. The subway fare recovery rate is about 60%. This means that every new fare dollar should be counted as a $0.66 cost. This cost should be deducted to the amount of new funding the congestion proposals generate.

    This cost greatly reduces the efficiency of the congestion fee as a funding source. Accounting for this cost, the amount of new funding for each congestion fee/toll raised becomes: 71%; 76%; 76%; 55% and 54% for what Mr. Komanoff’s BTA spreadsheet calls: the FixNYC Lower Range; FixNYC Higher Range; FixNYC Variable; MoveNY Flat and MoveNY Variable toll proposals.

    MoveNY’s additional funds were to be divided between the MTA and highway improvements. This reduces the funding available for subway improvements to 37% of each new congestion fee/toll raised.

    Vultures already have their sight on FixNYC’s windfall. They have proposed diverting a portion for highway maintenance and improvements. It’s quite likely that when Cuomo makes his offer, his something will reduce the amount of additional subway funding to less than 50% the new congestion fees paid.

    I’m sure Mr. Schwartz is aware of this congestion pricing flaw. He has chosen to ignore it, possibly because it was beyond the scope of his work.

    BTW, the recovery rate for the taxes, fees and tolls paid by NYS motorists is 68.5%. Their journeys are also subsidized.

  • Ken Dodd

    13 year old child on a bicycle killed by a piece of shit driving a Mack truck in Brooklyn last night. Right hooked. Driver arrested, turns out he didn’t have a license. The usual story. Piece of shit company hiring piece of shit unlicensed drivers who drive like pieces of shit around residential neighborhoods and kill people. New York officials: “so what?”

  • kevd

    3) Building dense housing on former commuter rail station parking lots.

  • AMH

    I love Andy Byford so much.