Wednesday’s Headlines: No USPS in Bike Lanes Today Edition

SB Donation NYC header 2Today’s national day of mourning for George Herbert Walker Bush has an added side benefit: The United States Postal Service says it will not deliver mail on Wednesday to honor the 41st President, father of the 43rd President, World War II hero, former CIA director, sock aficionado, former Vice President and, lest we forget, really good (and sort of ironic) friend of Bill Clinton.

No mail means no USPS trucks in bike lanes or illegally parked in the roadways. Talk about a point of light! Our editor vows to celebrate by riding up and down Vanderbilt Avenue, safe in the knowledge that his way will only be blocked by FedEx, UPS and Fresh Direct today. (Small victories!)

And now, the news:

  • So the Taxi and Limousine Commission set a minimum wage for drivers at $17.22 per hour on Tuesday, but insiders say the wage formula and other rules may end up driving smaller outlets like Juno out of business while benefiting Uber and hurting outer-borough customers (who should have better transit service so they wouldn’t use cars in the first place!). (amNY) One TLC commissioner wanted the wage to be even higher. (NYDN, NY Post)
  • You heard it here (sort of) first: New York Magazine is the latest outlet to say Uber is a big bubble that’s going to pop.
  • Remember those reports of signal problems with the brand new signals on the 7 line? Yeah, well it’s still happening. (amNY)
  • NYC Transit President Andy Byford testified at City Hall that he deserves $40 billion for his “Fast Forward” plan — only a tiny portion of which would come from the city. (NYDN)
  • The MTA is blaming Manhattan DA Cyrus Vance for an uptick in fare evasion — but at the same time admits the worst fare evasion is in the Bronx and Staten Island, which, inconveniently, do not have Cy Vance as DA. (Gothamist) The Times offered this explainer
  • Meanwhile, Nicole Gelinas in the Post doesn’t give the MTA a break (in other words, good work, Nicole!).
  • Now former DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan is in Delhi talking about roads (though we’d rather be in Rhodes talking about deli). (Hindustan Times)
  • And, finally, our tweet of the day is from HuffPo’s Andy Campbell, who made fun of our editor for his question at Tuesday’s mayoral press conference:

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Admits the worst fare evasion is in the Bronx and Staten Island.”
    The poorest borough, and the most entitled. I guess “fair fares” is supposed to decrease fare evasion in the poorest borough, but what about the most entitled?

    Staten Island already benefits from “fair tolls” on the Verrazano — lower tolls than Brooklyn residents pay. So I wonder what the relative rate of toll evasion is among the boroughs?

  • Daphna

    Regarding Gersh Kuntzman’s comments about his happiness that delivery trucks are not double-parked today:
    1) reminder that the real problem is the free and underpriced curbside parking regulations and the use/abuse of real/fake parking placards
    2) people like to order online and get deliveries and that is a new behavior pattern that must be accommodated
    3) commercial vehicles who have no alternative to conduct business other than to double park illegally are not the problem – they are a symptom of the real problem which is NYC’s curbside policy that allows personal vehicle storage for low cost or free in places that should only be loading/unloading zones

  • sbauman

    Staten Island …

    One Staten Island problem is the dearth of locations selling Metrocards. Effectively, it’s only the St. George Ferry Terminal. Combine that with not providing dollar bill acceptors on the buses. The MTA is making it very difficult for citizens to pay for bus trips on SI regardless of their sense of entitlement.

  • Joe R.

    I’ll also add that people ordering online is preferably to them driving to big box stores with huge parking lots. Maybe eventually online ordering will do away with most of these stores entirely so the land can be repurposed for something better.

  • Joe R.

    Those dollar bill acceptors they used to have on buses were a great thing. I don’t know why they got rid of them, especially as the fare rose. It’s one thing to pay with change when the fare was $1 or $1.10. It’s a lot harder when it’s $2.75. Things might be better if dollar coins were in common circulation but that will only happen if the government forces people’s hands by eliminating dollar bills. That should happen, but so should getting rid of pennies and nickels. Unfortunately, the public often seems opposed to sensible measures.

  • Joe R.

    Can’t they hire more technically literate reporters. I cringed when I read this:

    On the L line, the signal system doesn’t have enough power to move as many trains as possible along the line, according to Byford. The MTA plans to boost that power during the L train shutdown.

    Um,no. The problem is the inability to supply more trains with third-rail power. The “signal system” doesn’t supply trains with power.

  • Andrew

    The Eltingville Transit Center also has MetroCard vending machines, and third party merchants sell preloaded cards. And, of course, any Staten Island resident who commutes to work in Manhattan is probably reasonably close to a subway station and can buy/refill a MetroCard there.

    In any case, buses still accept coins, although the effective fare is higher than with MetroCards (no bonus, and no way to buy an unlimited card on a bus).

  • Andrew

    NYCTA buses never had dollar bill acceptors. The vacuum system used to remove the coins from the fareboxes would shred dollar bills. Dollar coins are, of course, accepted.

  • sbauman

    Nicole Gelinas gives the MTA too much credit, when she noted that the October 2018 Terminal On Time Performance metric reached 70% for the first time in more than two years. One problem with this metric is that it compares actual arrivals against the scheduled arrival. However, the scheduled trip duration can be changed between year to year comparisons.

    That’s what’s happened in this case; the outfield fences were moved in. According to the MTA’s Dashboard, the the OTP for October 2018 was 70.3%. The last time that performance was equaled was in August 2015, when it registered 71.8%. However, the average trip time increased by 1:22 between these dates. This increase is after accounting for the extra time taken with the SAS and Hudson Yards extensions. This is equivalent to extending the late threshold from 5 minutes to 6:22 for the August 2015 data.

    There’s a similar problem in tracking stock prices before and after a split. The common solution is to re-calculate the previous prices on the basis of the split. One should re-calculate the previous OTP, on the basis of the expanded late threshold.

    Probability’s central limit theorem can be used to get a reasonable estimate. One method would be to ascribe any lateness beyond the scheduled arrival to a folded Gaussian random variable.This means the 5 minute threshold was equivalent to 1.07 standard deviations. The 6:22 threshold would be equivalent to 1.07 * (6:22/5:00) or 1.36 standard deviations. The August 2015 OTP would be 82.6%, based on the relaxed threshold.

    The OTP has not returned to a two year high, when the effects of a relaxed timetable is taken into account.

  • Joe R.

    Queens Transit (later Queens Surface) had them. I think some of the other private bus lines did also.

  • AMH

    Wired has a great piece about online shopping. https://www.wired.com/story/online-shopping-traffic-delivery-efficiency/

  • Former Donor

    I wasn’t a fan of GHWB, but if you’re going to be bothered to give him a backhanded compliment, at least recognize that he signed SAFETEA-LU into law. A professed bike advocate should recognize the importance of that rather than add unneeded snark.

  • AMH

    Amazing wordplay on Delhi roads/Rhodes deli! It brightened my countenance.