No Car, No Public Transportation in the Tri-State Area

Monday, August 22, 2011

A recent report from the Brookings Institution highlights the number of Americans who don't own cars (a lot of them are in the NYC area!) — and those who also don't have access to reliable public transportation. Adie Tomer of Brookings discusses these transportation deserts.

Do you live in the NY area and not own a car, but also don't have reliable access to mass transit? Tell us about how you cope here.

Comments [23]

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Oct. 13 2011 08:27 AM
JD Reynolds from CT

Come On Everyone!

This was nothing, in the terms of earth quakes! If you really want to feel one, go to Southern California. There's seldom a month that goes by that didn't have an earthquake the rattles dishes and cracks some walls. It is interesting when NYC gets a little excited on things that others just go about their lives without a pause. It does give you pause on how the poor maintance and design in this area could really yield a loss of life with no one to hold our hand.

Aug. 23 2011 02:49 PM
Seamus Dolan from brooklyn

Grew up in Brooklyn and still live here. I do not even know how to drive, and neither do my sisters or my mom. Most of the large cities outside the northeast have no public transportation, and accordingly, look disgusting with strip malls everywhere and no public places where people come and go.

I love when americans go to Europe and immediately say wow these small streets and all these outdoor plazas are so pretty, and then they go home and drive an oversized SUV to Walmart having never stepped a food in anything public the entire day--and they can not make the connection. Its so sad.

Aug. 23 2011 12:34 PM
Evan from Brooklyn--you gotta problem wit dat?

The Bee Line is one of Greater NYC's best-kept secrets. You can go all the way up to Valhalla and beyond from the City FOR FREE with a metro card! And it's such an education.

Of course, it's painfully slow--it takes me up to three hours to get from my home in Brooklyn to visit my mom in assisted living in Ardsley. But it's still pretty amazing and the price is right. Just bring plenty of work/reading.

Aug. 23 2011 12:16 PM

According to a food stamp survey done by the Montana DPHHS, 12 of 96 food stamp applicants said auto insurance was a reason for needing food stamps. That would equal 30,000 over the past 20 years in Montana. Poor people can buy 200$ of mand auto insurance and then get 200$ of food stamps if the auto insurance leaves them without funds for food. Don Birkholz, Broadus, MT

Aug. 22 2011 08:25 PM
Brookings Inst : look at Mandatory Auto Insurance from Stop Depriving the poor of job opportunities and freedom

Mandatory Auto insurance is a regressive tax that deprives the working poor of access to efficient transportation.

It limits their ability to find and keep jobs,
taxes them many hours a week in extra Time lost, impairs their ability to find inexpensive and healthier food and other goods and services (like medical access).
In many places, it effectively constrains the poor's freedom of association, andfreedom of political expression (access to protests).

Mandatory auto insurance certainly impairs
the working poor's ability to engage in interstate commerce.

The Brookings institute should look into the damaging impact of mandatory auto insurance on transportation for the working poor.

Mandatory auto insurance should be challenged in the FEDERAL courts.

Aug. 22 2011 12:40 PM
MANDATORY Regressive Auto Insurance - a problem from Regressive Limitations on Transport

Much has been made in politics and in the courts about the mandatory health insurance component of the new healthcare law.

Mandatory AUTO-insurance traps the poor - Restricting their ability to find jobs and purchase inexpensive and healthier foods. It is a regressive subsidy to the wealthy.

If I have an old car worth $1000, and could barely afford to purchase it and pay for gas, why should I subsidize some wealthy person's risk that in the event of an accident I go bankrupt because I can't pay for repairs to their Ferrari ?

Already, the poor face a higher chance of death in auto accidents (due to smaller, less safe cars while the wealthy drive harmful SUVs). But they also face higher insurance rates as a percentage of their assets, their car's value, and their income.

This prevents many people from owning or even renting or borrowing a car. MANDATORY Auto insurance is a REGRESSIVE TAX on the working poor.
In areas with weak mass transit systems
it effectively places many people under house arrest - depriving them of freedom of movement and association and severely harming their ability to work their way out of poverty. Even where their are existing mass transit, this acts as a tax on poor people's time when they are forced to spend extra hours getting to work, and can't shop at inexpensive stores or even go to less crowded suburban schools and
emergency rooms.

why not mandatory auto insurance which is far more regressive.

Aug. 22 2011 12:31 PM

Nancy from morristown, as a fellow bicyclist, i have to remind other bicyclist that not all people can ride a bike,especially the disabled. I have the same issue with the bicyclist purist that are so against small electric boost motors. Someone who is disabled x bicyclist might be able to use a bike with a motor for hills, and still get exercise and not need a car . IMO motors are ok as long as they do not raise the speed above 15 mph. 20 mph motor on a bike is to fast , unless your experienced enough at handling, to reach 20 on the flats on your own power. Trikes with small motors could also solve transportation problems, but legislators outlaw everything except bikes, they would outlaw bikes too , if they could. They have on the GW bridge at night

Aug. 22 2011 12:27 PM
Ciro DiSclafani from Garfield, NJ

I live in Garfield, NJ, a small city in Southwest Bergen County. I no longer own a car, for various economic, and health reasons. I am semi-retired. I walk most places, since NJ Transit Intrastate buses and trains are greatly limited in access and scheduling.

Public Transit is typically focused on rush-hour travel to, and from, New York City.

Most of my travel is geared to attending New York events. For example, I cannot EASILY get to your Montclair State event, next Tuesday. A 20 minute each way car ride will take Over THREE HOURS, round trip, by train, and/or bus. A taxi would cost more than $20 one way.

However, I can get to NY in less than an hour, by train, as long as I travel by 3:45 PM. The non-rush-hour buses run later, but take longer - over an hour.

The other issue you might investigate is the lack of regard for pedestrian safety, in the suburbs. I have been advocating for improvements in pedestrian safety, in Garfield, for a year, with very limited effect, despite recent laws enacted to protect pedestrians.

Of course, you may not find this relevant enough to explore, in depth, until a renowned Foundation does a study?

Aug. 22 2011 12:21 PM

westchester has very poor public transportation, as the caller from ossinging found out.
Many people can not figure out the bus schedules, including me. There is no online schedule that will tell you when the next bus is ,like metronoth has. No hopstop for buses. Public transportation is looked down upon, Considered a low class mode,in westchester you need a car to count. Also on xmas and thanksgiving there is zero service. The county legislator wants to cut more of the bus service. All of the county legislators should be forced to take the bud to work at least once a week..
Also, i have heard that the newest and the only system bus terminal, which is in downtown white plains, has no public bathrooms.

Aug. 22 2011 12:11 PM
Leslie Hogan from The Bronx

Everybody should learn to drive a stick shift for energy savings. I drive a Toyota Corolla 4dr sedan stick shift. It gets 30mpg in NYC driving & 42mpg highway when using cruise control. It's 10 yrs old & still getting such good mileage. If everybody drove stick shifts, the demand for foreign oil would decrease.

Aug. 22 2011 11:55 AM
Mtbrooklyn from Brooklyn

As a New Yorker, I love not depending on cars. But anywhere outside of NYC, forget it! Try as you might, this country has not invested in that kind of infrastructure. It's a shame and continues our reliance on oil. If one visits Europe or Japan, the mass transit is so efficient and wide reaching. Wish we could have that infrastructure in the US.

Aug. 22 2011 11:52 AM
Max from North Jersey

Jade from Jersey City, there are TWO NJ Transit rail stations serving the Montclair State campus, quite easy to reach from Jersey City by public transport.

Aug. 22 2011 11:50 AM
Chaz from Montclair NJ

The commentor in Jersey City needs to hop on the PATH train to Hoboken from Exchange Pl, or Journal Sq. THen take an NJ transit train that will drop them off on the MSU Campus.

Aug. 22 2011 11:48 AM
AnitaRelax from Astoria, NY

The NJ transit system is actually quite extensive. For example, they have a stop on the Montclair State campus. So it is really easy to get from NYC to Montclair.

Aug. 22 2011 11:48 AM
LoneStarBrightCity from Weehawken

I'm with Jade. From Weehawken, one of the easiest ways to get to Hoboken is to go through Manhattan. The second is walking. Mass transit from NJ to NJ isn't very good which is a shame. I'd be inclined to spend more of my $$ in Hoboken if it wasn't such an ordeal to get there.

Aug. 22 2011 11:47 AM
Leah Bernstein from Locust Valley, NY

I grew up in Brooklyn. My family didn't own a car.

I moved to Manhattan. My husband had several cars, but I used public transportion.

These days, I am living and employed on Long Island. I hate owning a car, the drive to work, etc. I prefer public transportation for many reasons, but that does not seem to be the prevailing attitude here. They love their cars out here.

Aug. 22 2011 11:44 AM
LoneStarBrightCity from Weehawken

I still remember moving up this area from Texas. I sold my truck before I moved and that's what made it real for me.

Now that I've been in the city for 10 years I'm a mass transit girl through and through. I love that I can get around without the upkeep of a car. I go back to Texas and occasionally see bus stops interspersed here and there. They are like little magic portals. I couldn't even begin to know where they lead.

Aug. 22 2011 11:43 AM
T. P. Stevens from NYC

@Lisa call in guest:

Holy Cow, wake up and focus before calling in. And "my boyfriend" as a place holder within each sentence is really tedious. NYC says good riddance.

Aug. 22 2011 11:43 AM

the solutions are not hard, to public transit,they are however politically impossible. that's a very different matter.

Aug. 22 2011 11:40 AM

Did I just hear from Adie Tomer that LA has a better mass transit system than NYC? How can that be?

Aug. 22 2011 11:36 AM
jade from Jersey

As someone car-less in NJ (Jersey City), let me just say that it would be relatively easy to see you in Manhattan, but that it's impossible for me to see you in Montclair!

Aug. 22 2011 11:31 AM
Nancy from Morristown, NJ

I've lived in Morristown, NJ for 28 years without owning a car. I ride my bike in rain, snow and blistering heat. I was lucky that before I retired I worked a short mile from my apartment. There is also decent, but limited mass transit in town.

With a sturdy set of panniers, I get groceries without a giant SUV--it can be done.

Aug. 22 2011 10:51 AM

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