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Friday’s Headlines: Hey, Teachers, Leave Those Kids Alone Edition

12:00 AM EST on January 5, 2024

Teachers have these. They need to count their blessings.

The big story yesterday was the United Federation of Teachers suing to stop congestion pricing on the grounds that teachers should not be forced to ride the same subway that's good enough for the rest of us.

Everyone covered it because it was so absurd on so many levels. For one thing, as Streetsblog has previously reported, all the driving being done in this city kills and maims public school kids at a disproportionate rate, so it's ironic that teachers want to do more of it.

In addition, all drivers are subject to plenty tolls; there's nothing new or novel about tolling to get into Manhattan, so we all need to stop pretending there is.

This chart from the congestion pricing environmental assessment shows the costs associated with driving vs. using transit.Graphic: MTA

The anti-congestion pricing Post played up the union grievances and left the MTA's response to a single buried paragraph. The Daily News allowed the suit's most preposterous claim stand unchallenged, namely that car users are so overburdened that they "can't afford" the toll. In fact, the congestion pricing environmental assessment makes it clear that drivers have already made an excessively expensive choice — after buying, gassing up, insuring and maintaining their cars, a Staten Island-to-Manhattan commuter pays roughly $74 a day on his commute while transit users spend just $12. So don't tell me they can't afford a toll — they can, they're just suffering buyer's remorse.

Meanwhile, amNY, Gothamist and Chalkbeat played it more or less straight, which left it to Streetsblog to point out that many teachers are embarrassed by their union leadership's 11th-hour bid to overturn the state-mandated toll, and how only a few dozen Staten Island residents would even be subject to the toll because that's how many commute to the Central Business District in a car.

In other news:

  • The big non-legal news yesterday was the two-train collision under the Upper West Side that injured two dozen people and destroyed the evening rush hour. It's unclear if service would be back this morning. (NYDN, NY Post, NY Times)
  • Though unrelated, the LIRR also had a meltdown with its service thanks to a single disabled train at Grand Central. (WPIX).
  • Gothamist got around to the Citi Bike price increase that we broke last week.
  • Finally, did you hear about the car that tried to perpendicular park?

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