Monday’s Headlines: He The Subway Fare is Risen Edition

Photo: Gersh Kuntzman
Photo: Gersh Kuntzman

The Bible tells us that Christ rose on Easter — but this year, so did the subway fare. Starting yesterday, the weekly all-you-can-eat MetroCard rose from $32 to $33, and a 30-day unlimited rose from $121 to $127. The base fare remains $2.75. (NY Post, amNY) Here’s a link in case you qualify but haven’t yet applied for the Fair Fares program. The fare hike couldn’t have come at a better time: on Friday, the MTA begins its dreaded nights-and-weekends repair of the L train. (Wall Street Journal)

Here’s the rest of the weekend’s news:

  • Those Citi Bike e-bike lawsuits have only just begun. (NYDN)
  • A woman was dragged to her death by a train in Union Square on Saturday. (WSJ)
  • Jose Martinez wrote up the long saga of a single elevator. (The City)
  • Did you catch Emma Fitzsimmons’s long analysis in the Times of frenemies Andrew Cuomo and Andy Byford? It’s a must read — if only for the part where Cuomo’s spokeswoman accuses the Times of gutter tabloid instincts. (Good for the Times!). The Post offered its own version.
  • The DOT is about to improve Northern Boulevard with concrete pedestrian refuges. This is a big deal for a roadway Streetsblog dubbed “The New Boulevard of Death.” (Jackson Heights Post)
  • Residents of Morris Park are still making specious complaints about — and News12 is still misreporting those specious complaints about — the city’s upcoming life-saving road diet for Morris Park Avenue.
  • Mayor de Blasio will be in Queens at 12:30 today talking about New York’s “Green New Deal,” a City Council bill that would cut emissions from buildings (you get a break, cars). CBS News’s Jason Silverstein had the nifty Trump angle.
  • And, finally, the best weekend read: George Monbiot in The Guardian reminding us that cars are literally killing us. “Let’s abandon this disastrous experiment,” he writes.
  • Larry Littlefield

    I recommend reading this article. Not for what it’s about. But for what it says about MTA signals, Siemens and Railworks. Those aren’t the only two examples either. The only counter example was Bustime, for which the MTA had a contract that allowed them to not pay and start over when it failed to work.

    https://nypost.com/2019/04/21/new-yorks-troubled-wireless-system-has-become-a-900m-money-pit/

    The private sector is far more efficient than the public sector. One of the things it does most efficiently is rip off the public sector. Why can’t the city hire people who know enough to deal with this? Rock bottom starting pay, and yet sky high labor costs due to age 55 retirement. So they hire contractors, and we get this. Over and over.

    “Holden, who sits on the Council’s technology committee, said he spoke to Saini and other DoITT officials Friday and “learned” DoITT feels “trapped” into extending the contract with Northrop Grumman because “no one” in city government “knows how to deal with the NYCWiN software.”

    “That’s why we’re overspending,” he said. “It’s like we’re at the contractor’s mercy.”
    However, the city could have potentially avoided the software crash and renewing its relationship with Northrop Grumman had it followed the lead of former DoITT Commissioner Anne Roest.”

    “In May 2017, she testified during a City Council hearing that the agency needed to break away from the Northrop Grumman deal as soon as possible. Roest said NYCWiN was getting “more expensive” to maintain and needs “hundreds of millions of dollars in upgrades.”

  • crazytrainmatt

    As of yesterday afternoon, the metal barriers are back in the 7th Ave bike land through Times Square. The first block they are on the traffic side, then they are on the inside. It’s never a great ride in the afternoons, but now it’s unusable again.

    https://nyc.streetsblog.org/2018/02/06/nypd-security-theater-out-of-the-times-square-bike-lane-and-onto-the-sidewalk/

    DOT needs to rethink this as it renders the only low-traffic route on the east side useless. The lane is pretty clear of cars, but it’s too narrow to pass, the inside wall means pedestrians can’t get out of the way, and the raised curb makes any fall towards traffic potentially fatal.

    The projects on 2nd and 52/55th will help, but what is really needed is to continue the bike lanes on 5/6/7th all the way up to the park.

  • Joe R.

    A big part of the problem is the city being willing to pay any cost overruns the contractors bill for. The first time a contractor pulled that crap with us was the last. The next time anyone did work on the house, we held them to their contract. When they started with the inevitable cost overruns we told them you have two choices. You either finish the job at the agreed upon price, or you leave now and give us back every dime we paid you. If you don’t do either, we’ll see you in court. They always finished the job but complained that they lost money. My only retort was maybe you shouldn’t be bidding unrealistically low figures just to get the job, or perhaps you’re lying that you’re taking a loss. I know what things cost. I know damned well even at the contract price these people were making money.

  • Joe R.

    It’s a pity more of our leaders don’t share the same viewpoint as George Monbiot. Not only are cars killing the planet, but they’re not even particularly good as a transportation solution. They scale poorly with population density. For most transport scenarios, other alternatives are as good or better:

    1) Short distance transport (i.e. 3 to ~20 miles): bike, velomobile, subway, commuter rail
    3) Longer distance transport ( 20 to 75 miles): commuter rail, bike + commuter rail
    4) Long distance transport ( 75 to ~750 miles): high-speed rail
    5) Very long distance transport ( >750 miles): high-speed rail or air

    If equivalent sums of money were spent on the other modes, then the other modes are always at least as fast, often much faster, less costly, and with less environmental impact.

    About the only place cars make sense is very low density areas like rural, farm states. Here none of the above alternatives are economically or logistically viable. Well, maybe bike still is if you’re going less than maybe 10 miles.

    Not talked about but still worth discussing is reducing the demand for transport in the first place:

    1) Incentives for telecommuting.
    2) Databases to match similar jobs to reduce commuting. For example, you might have a person in Queens going to a job in NJ and one in NJ going to a very similar job in Manhattan. A database which locates similar jobs closer to a person’s home could find situations like this where these people could switch jobs and both gain in terms of less commute time.
    3) Disincentives for optional, longer distance travel. This is really the low-hanging fruit. Often job commutes aren’t amenable to #1 or #2 but optional travel by its nature can be reduced drastically. If it costs a lot more to fly to some tropical island every 3 months people will do it a lot less, or not at all. Maybe in the long term we’ll find some way to travel very long distances which is more environmentally friendly than airliners but for now this type of travel really needs to be drastically curtailed. Noise pollution is another reason to curtail air travel.

  • Urbanely

    The masses balk whenever they hear about new public employees being added to payroll, for anything. For a long time, we’ve been fed the line that the private sector can always do it better and cheaper, and people believe it…even while the private sector contractors are charging exorbitant fees for nothing.

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