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Joseph Lhota, MTA chairman and chief executive officer, talks about the MTA's new fare and toll proposal.
This is not about the fare increase, but I have to make this request whenever a subway topic comes up. At the West 4th Street Station, please make announcements indicating on which level the next uptown or downtown train will arrive. Saying express or local does not help when the A/C/E are on one level and the B/D/F/M are two flights below.
I understand it will be years before there will be signs indicating minutes until the trains on these lines, but this one announcement change would be a huge help.
Sorry I missed this segment. Last week I got on a Madison Avenue bus and there were tourists from Europe ahead of me. They had the new metrocard with advertising on both sides. Both the tourists and the bus driver did not know the proper side to insert into the card reader. I had read the news article about how much money these ads were going to bring in, so I was able to show them how to use the card. One would think that the bus drivers were given some information or instruction from management...
@Sheldon from Brooklyn. Well everyone knows London only really starts on the North bank of the Thames! Full disclosure - my family is from the Old Kent Road!
I guess I see the use of swiping out technology much as I see the role of burglar alarms - they raise the risk of the evasion/theft and thereby lower the occurrence even if they can not eliminate the problem entirely. The cost-benefit analysis sure would be interesting - especially as the value of evasion rises when the fares go up in a down economy.
Sure agree that the oyster kicks the metrocard to the curb.
Rick, the roads are NOT free. *SOMEONE* pays for highway upkeep, for repaving, for filling holes caused by weather and constant wear--for both the materials and the workers who are out there year-round.
To fellow Commenters: Please consider, when you hear the highlighted "excessive" or fraudulent payments to mass transit workers, that these represent a minuscule number of workers compared to the overall workforce. I'd like to know how many New Yorkers would switch places with those who are stuck underground, whether in tiny booths, in underground, filthy tunnels, or maneuvering a huge (sometimes double-length) bus through NYC traffic while trying to meet schedules, passengers who dig for their fares/taxes at the last moment or run for the bus and hold the door open, and more crowded buses now that so many lines have been canceled. (By the way, I find it *so* ironic that there was a mass, costly building of fancy chrome bus shelters that were subsequently torn down when the lines themselves were canceled. Aside from the hardship this caused (canceling the lines and the shelters), is no one creative enough to have thought of ways to repurpose these *adverting-generating* structures? Rain shelters? Late-night safety zones that cops patrol? I mean, really ........
@Jim, you are not going to get an argument from me. It's ridiculous that cops can retire only after 20 years.
However, there is a difference if you are saying that 55 is the MINIMUM, to get benefits, assuming most people will work longer to get higher benefits.
A (slight) fair hike is fine as long as it goes towards improving the old and stinky and ada inaccessible subway system.But NOT to finance the construction of a monster tower in Lower Manhattan.
I just looked it up... 55 is the minimum age to receive benefits although an employee can become vested and retire much earlier. Employees can be vested in as little in 5 years. So, I rephrase the question... Why do people accept that government employees get life-long benefits at 55 -- particularly after working for only 5 years? Is a bus driver really so different than they guy selling you a felafel?
Ha Gareth, I have family in Peckham, I can assure you, having a swipe out system will not deter any potential NYC fare evader. It doesn't other there. Not withstanding the costs of putting such a system. I do love the oyster card though.
the MTA is an embarrassment. this is the greatest city in the wold except for our mass transit system.
The MTA does a poor job of promoting it's history. How many people know that Michael Jackson shot his "bad" video at the Hoyt station? or remember that the MTA museum is in downtown Brooklyn.
I am an attorney and commuted every day to NYC for 40 years. Wouldn't be great if the subways were free. This sounds dumb but remember that every person in the subway is a car off the street. It is like building roads. THE ROADS ARE FREE!!!
On stats: *INCOMES* have not gone up. So take all of the increases Brian just listed in costs--and let's include taxes like increased CUNY tuition/taxes (remember that CUNY was founded as a *free* institution* for working-class New Yorkers who couldn't afford private universities), increased water taxes, increased parking taxes, and when there is a rare job opening, they are low-paying service jobs: The city is now, by design, skewed in income to the extremes: The wealthy financial industry and the low-paying service sector.
I would also like to see, in addition to the stats I requested below: How many nonworking New Yorkers are neglected and not figured into those nonmonthly or weekly paying riders. So there may be a significant percentage buying monthly/weekly passes but the nonworking aren't buying anything any more.
I'm a freelancer & usually work from home. So I don't commute regularly, & a weekly, much less a monthly, Metrocard is almost never worth the price for me. The only discount that's helpful to me is the additional 10% added to a card when I spend >$7. I'd rather see the percentage reduced or the minimum purchase increased than see it go away entirely. In a way, this is a more democratic discount, being available to more passengers. How many riders are in a similar situation?
@Sheldon from Brooklyn. It is certainly true that the swipe out is used that way in London but that does not mean that swiping out does not offer a simple technical fix for fare evasion in a flat fare system as well. Of course, introducing the technology opens the gate for introduction of a fare zone system that can be really regressive.
One more thing, Mr. Lhota.
When are you FINALLY going to clean, repair and refurbish the CHAMBERS STREET station on the J/Z Line?
It's FILTY and has been neglected for over 40 years! Considering the fact that it is a main connection hub to City Hall, just like the 4,5&6, FIX IT!!!!!
1) why is an increase increment of 25 cents the only one being considered? Why not a nickel, dime, or 15 cents?
2) why the continued discrimination against cash-paying bus riders with regard to subway transfers? (That is, single-fare subway riders still get a free transfer to a bus, but the reverse isn't true.)
Lohta's salary is how many times higher than the token clerk? How much does this phenomenon increase expenses?
So, Sheldon, they're one and the same. Pressure on the MTA is therefore justified...But, yes, we require a public information campaign on the workings here and ways to fight it.
Fairs have been hiked time and time again over the last 10 years, way above the cost of living. It is not reasonable to raise them again. Wealthier people will drive more a fares go up. Tourist families often takee cabs because it is cheaper. The monthly is only worthwhile if you travel 6 days per week now! I it is raised it will not be a better deal than the individual pass. In addition, the mta has made it so confusing to get a free ride if you buy individual passes and not a monthly. I always have leftover change. It is already expensive and fares should not be raised.
How's about bringing back a day pass? And this time a true 24hour pass!For about the price of 4 or 5 single rides...
How much of the debt of the MTA is due to borrowing for operating expenses? And how can we make sure this never happens again?
The MTA should cut back on all its maxing out of advertising in the system. That includes such things as the naming of subway stations after corporation, most conspicuously represented at present by the poorly (scandalously?) handled naming of subway hub stations after “Barclay” Bank (as in the LIBOR scandal) for which the MTA got a far-below-market pittance. Advertising revenues are absolutely minimal: More than 99% of the system is paid for by sources of income other than advertising.
See: MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2012, NY Times Runs 3rd Article Mentioning That, Given Scandal, Promotionally Naming Subway Stations & Arena “Barclays” Is Problematic
Chairman Lhota was quick to point out the NYC fare value as compared to London. Why don't we use the London Oyster Model: the first swipe of your oyster card deducts a single fare up to a mximun which equals an unlimited daily fare?
There is way too much inefficiency in the MTA system that it is blatant. Buses that stop every block (M4 as it goes across 110, just past the NW corner of CP), patterns of buses that come in packs rather than evenly distributed across time, buses with no one on them but the driver, etc.
Last week when the 6 train had signal issues at 14th street, my wife was made late for work twice. Both times passengers on the trains were told to discharge, hordes of people were waiting for buses. There really should be some overflow capacity in the bus system, ready to come to the rescue. The fact such horrible service was in place the day you released your plan to raise tranist costs will encourage a great many people to walk or ride bikes, especially when your service has become so unreliable.
When is the MTA going to take a serious look at all the waste going on, particularly with bussing, and allocate resources in a way that doesn't bleed time and money?
I cant trust what joe says because the books are closed. They make milions of dollars an hour and people are crammed together like hollocaust victims and still have to let full trains pass them by. I take a bike. I sugest we all do. Gget excercise. Save electricity. Save hu.dreds of dollars a month. And make the streets saver. Ride a bike!
24 hour service is NOT true. Unless you live in Manhattan. If you live in the outer boroughs, there is no service between 2am and 5am. Poll workers have to arrive at their poll sites at 5:30 am the buses do not start to run until 5:06 and I live in Harlem where the service is fairly adequate. 4 and 5 trains only run to a point in the Bronx, I've been trying to come into Harlem from the Bronx after 10 pm and it is a hassle. Many bus routes have been eliminated and the 3-door buy a ticket on the side walk bus is the worse idea since the train to the plane which does go to the plane
As a former expat in Moscow, I can attest to that city's beautiful and highly efficient Metro. When the MTA's Mr. Lhota chauvinistically calls Moscow's subway "incomparable" to what NYC has, he must be talking about the fact that the former isn't dirty, frequently slow or fiscally mismanaged.
Yes on the vaporetti in Venice the tourist pays a fortune per ride while the Venetians either pay nothing or very little, VERY little. Last I was there in 2007 one way ride on a vaproretto was roughly $5 and it's tiny city where one can walk everywhere and I usually do. We should "get" the tourists here. And to be fair off discount tickets to them too for multiple ride if they have a long stay. These are similar ways they deal with public transport throughout Europe. In Germany there is the honor system and inspectors come around to check that you bought a ticket and the fines are high if you get caught not paying, take my word for it.
On a positive note...I want to thank the MTA for finally completing the full transfer from the F to the 6 at Bleeker/Broadway Lafayette. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU.
@Gareth, in London and D.C. - you have to tap out because there are fare zones, the further out you go, the more you pay - something that will never work in NYC.
I can't believe Mr. Lhota just said he wants to spend more money on a campaign to teach people what Metrocard they should buy. This is the kind of waste that explains why the MTA /may/ have money problems. Though it seems to me that if they first, cut Mr. Lhota's salary, and stop wasting money (like why are we still relying on paper to inform people about subway changes? all that paper must cost a fortune).
Has anyone else noticed that all questions are "great questions" these days. Was there a meeting in the recent past that I missed or wasn't invited to where y'all were trained to say that to all questions asked of you before you answer the question?
A huge problem with the MTA is its adoption of a ticket technology that is prone to fare evasion.
In London you have to swipe a card to both enter and leave the subway system; failure to swipe out brings a penalty charge. The effect of this is that all riders have to have a valid ticket completely eliminating the act of handing off multiple ride cards and the selling of swipes. This would increase revenue with no fare hike. What is more, as fares go up evasion will rise too resulting in a vicious cycle unless fare evasion can be controlled.
Of course it really helps that the London system has a far more reliable card that you simply tap on the gate and through you go.
@Jim - do you know for a FACT, that MTA employees retire at 50?
Yes Fuva, I did say so in the post - Lhota will never criticize his bosses for obvious reasons.
BTW, they need to build a subway between Queens and Brooklyn!!!Especially with the new Barclay Center.
Many our living outside of Manhattan and so many need to go from Brooklyn to Queens and Queens to Brooklyn.
What about the ongoing disability pension payouts? The NY TimesBroke this story years ago and yet it continues. I can't remember the exact data but a large majority of workers were retiring with disability payouts. And 90% of disablility requests were approved. Lastly I found that the disability rate of retries for MTA/LIRR are twelve times that of other railroads.
How about closing some stops in mid-Manhattan? The 7th Ave line makes stops every 5 blocks for some stretches. Why? Who can't walk 3 or 4 blocks in this city?
Question: the MTA a few years back had a multimillion dollar surplus. How, exactly was that spent? How can we make MTA more transparent -- open the books , etc?
I would like to ask Mr Lhota how much he is paid and why. The last I heard his salary and those of other board members were extremely high. (I cannot recall right now the exact amounts.) If the MTA board members cut their salaries, the fare hikes could be diminished.
Will the M8 bus get back weekend service? Ever?
Here is what I don't understand.
We read (and I believe) that expensive pensions are a crushing blow to the MTA, as well as many municipal governments.
We also read, in an amazing New York Times expose, that many LIRR conductors (as in well over 50%) were illegally claiming disability and then retiring with extra large pensions, while showing no disability (while boating, golfing, and doing other major physical activity).
Why not AGGRESSIVELY pursue them and offer the crooks a choice of jailtime if they go to trial, or a settlement of something like 50% of the pension they would normally get.
If the numbers are what they seem, then we could presumably save A GREAT DEAL OF cash by pursuing fraud. And we would let future retirees know this isn't acceptable. And I would feel better paying more for the subway if I knew I wasn't subsidizing fraud in any way.
How much is the education program that he's proposing going to cost?Why not just put up some posters?
They should increase the pay-per-ride so that the tourists pay more. The people who live here know about the weekly and monthly passes.
If they keep raising the monthly pass, people will find a way around it. I have a friend who only rides her bike now and refuses to take the subway. I don't know how to ride a bike, but I'll learn.
This city is filled with people who are unemployed and ride the system on an as-needed basis. I should know...I'M ONE OF THEM. It is impractical to buy weekly passes at $29 when, on average, I may end up spending less than $20 using the base fare.
As for the bus driver in Brooklyn, what you said is a lie. Please don't make generalized statements because you dont know everyone in Brooklyn and, while there are a handful who do try and get over, the majority pay exactly what they're supposed to pay...and get LESS SERVICE!!!!!!!!!!
How about a LOWER FARE for off-peak travel?
WHY doesn't the MTA get more creative with selling advertising to make up for shortfalls rather than increase fares.
They need to think out of the box and go beyond printed posters!
The way they advertise is antiquated.
...how about a clean, modern transit system???
We get screwed in this city!
i use the subway because i don't have a car. i restrict my usage because the fare is already forcing me to consider when i ride and how many times... only buy an unlimited when i have a "big week" of shopping, classes or auditions. it has been a hard few years. I used to run around a lot. so, what I am saying is that it will affect the overall economy of the city because I am not going to buy things in Manhattan and therefore not stopping for coffee...a bite to eat...whatever...and if I shop here in Bklyn, well, i am not going to nec. go for the coffee or the meal since I would be at home...juss' sayin'
I would like to see independent data on fare distribution by income before believing the MTA's own statistics. It's track record for recordkeeping is not exactly clean.
Why do riders subsidize the World Trade construction. If this is to be a profit making project, get bank financing. If it's not to be profit making, sell it.
Does Mr. Lhota have any idea of what true poverty is. There are many members of the working poor who cannot get the money together to buy a discount ticket. And so they will be penalized, once again, for their lack of monetary flexibility.
Why does it cost the same to go across town in manhattan and 2.25 to go from manhattan to forest hills?
I'm curious about how much money the MTA makes annually on unused fares, particularly the odd amounts left over because the multi ride cards don't break down monetarily into an even number of rides.
Help the bikers who ride when their rides are in the shop!We pay buy-the-trip and typically don't have the $ to support a fair increase.Dismay and discouragement will increase in proportion to the cost hike.
Tell me, what does $25K / annum get anyone today! It's time to get out of the '70s when it comes to COL for real working and retired people. Also if there really is no COL as Brian said in the beginning of this segment, then why DO you or any business or institution require a COLA!? Wow, Social Security is giving a 1.7% COLA next year, again WOW! Recipients can buy 100 more rides on MTA or to be fair 200 more rides at the 1/2 fare. WOW!! What else can they/we buy, as prices on even food go up? LMAO>
the MTA has an excellent program for seniorsthat is easy to use.People may not know about this.
Bring back the 2-week pass!It was a great option for those who need more than a week but can't afford to pay for the monthly.
I think 'transparency' is more than just having public opinion, its about seeing what effect the fare hikes have on the system. I have ridden the subway for years and haven't seen anything change despite now numerous fare hikes over a short period of time.
Suppose we raise the cost of unlimited MetroCards, what will be the impact on transit ridership? My concern is that some people who are currently buying unlimited cards are also tempted to drive, and that a significant price increase for unlimited cards would make driving more attractive. That would be very bad.
Subway fares are just like the lottery - Albany tells us lotto will fund schools so they will be perfect, but then they just deduct the money they used to put into schools, and the lottery just keeps spending at the same amount. Same with subways, everytime you raise the fares, it's just an excuse for Albany to deduct more of what they should be spending. The public never benefits. Ever!
This is not a rich vs poor problem. Are you listening to what he is saying? The uncontrollable costs are the pensions. Why do people accept the notion that government employees can retire at 50 with life-long pension?
they must be feeling the public outrage and "heat" if they are showing up on the BL Show to tell their sad sob-story yet again(!) and raise raise raise, happily raise the fare.Every 2 years it goes up...Please have him explain where all the money is going - it's going to pay off the interest on the mta debt. It doesn't even go to Improving the mta. It's a financial drain. It poorly run. And my favorite - it's a monopoly. I hate when they say "thank you for riding mta" - I honestly have no choice.
Yes, Sheldon, the public definitely needs better education around this issue and the sources of the problem. But MTA Chairmen DON'T call out the politicians for a reason. I mean, just now, did Lohta even mention under-funding in response to Brian's question about the need for a hike? We are sheep.
Of course, let's blame the workers for living underground or navigating crazy NYC transit (and midnight robberies and drunks) for 20-30 years and expecting good health care and pensions when they retire. But of course, these are the working- and middle-class people living in our neighborhoods who also pay taxes--including and make purchases that help support neighborhood businesses. So go ahead, give away the Atlantic rail yards for the undervalued $100 million and the West Side yards to wealthy developers and try to deplete the pensions and health insurance that working people need to survive.
This is not good news, but is not really surprising (costs going up despite inflation being flat). The MTA is much like many oter governments that have away benefits in the past and are now suffering for it. As for means testing the fares- this is neither possible nor necessary. Are we going to start means testing for a gallon of milk? Gas? I have been disgusted with some of the performance of MTA and PATH over the years, but go to other cities and you will appreciate the public transportation in NYC as relatively inexpensive, far reaching, convenient, timely. Try Philly, Chicago, or elsewhere and we all might not complain much.
My question is why every now and then we hear in the news that the MTA is showing a surplus and everything is rosey (the short version for here) and then for some strange reason no more than two weeks later the media are reporting that the MTA is in a financial hole and needs to increase fares!! Yes I sit here and hear this on the news without any question or mention that just two weeks ago there was a surplus. I remember these kinds of reports more than once over the past decade. So what's the story on this? I mean is it true as once reported a while back that the MTA keeps two sets of books and pulls out the ones they want when it's to the advantage of the Authority?
almost every day I see someone jumping turnstile, getting in thru open emergency door, how much is fare evasion a factor?
I understand there is a huge potential savings (on the order of 10s to perhaps 100s of millions of dollars per year) if the MTA invested in hybrid electric technology (like in Hybrid cars) to access the energy generated from braking trains. Is the MTA looking at this and if so, do you have a sense of the cost of this investment and the potential savings?
You seem to forget one thing. There is a very high unemployment rate in this city. Those who are unemployed use the subway system on an as-needed basis. This means those who are not working will bear the brunt of the base fare increase and end up "subsidizing" those who are working and can afford weekly and monthly passes.
Brian. Long story short NO ONE in Brooklyn (the borough) I work in pays their proper bus fare. I am an operator on my break now and I decided to write in. The riders who are supposed to pay 1/2 fare pay either 75cents or $1.00. I have so many customers who are short on the fare or do not have it and I am not one to enforce any fare for my own safety. You can raise it to $3.00 and you will still only receive $1.00 or less.
Come on, Joe, enough with the upgrades. Track work and repair is one thing, but stop with all the digital and wireless stuff. This is mass transit... MASS... it's not a limo service. It is far more important to keep the fares low, so the poorest among us can travel. If folks want highend service, there are always cabs.
No more doing more with less. Do less with less. Keep the fares down.
Remember when we were told that if only we got rid of tokens and went to cards it would save so much money that prices would stay at $1. That's what they should be: $1. Are you listening?
How about running an EFFICIENT/FULLY FUNCTIONING organization!?!?!?
RJ, yes. IF there should be a hike, then it cannot be regressive; it has to be applied in a way that counteracts the economically unsustainable income divide.
I wish Lhota the best of luck but we have lost the last two competent MTA chairmen because of Albany's exploitation of the public's ignorance.
Our (subsidized) mass transit system is perennially underfunded by Albany's politicians, thus forcing the MTA to raise fares on the front end. The public inevitably lashes out at the MTA. The chairman is then stuck in the middle, having to disingenuously justify fare hikes, without publically criticizing or highlighting the true cause - his political bosses (who appointed him,) for the lack of funding. I don't blame Jay Walder for quitting.
Raising only the base public transit tax will continue what so often happens: Hurt the poor first and benefit those with higher incomes. The poor don't have $104 on hand or credit cards or money in the bank for debit cards to buy an unlimited MetroCard, and they are often forced to buy the more expensive single tickets. Higher income people will sometimes have the cash or credit or bank balances for debit cards to pay significant amounts in one shot, which lower their price per ride. Of course, "higher" income is relative, given the fact that the actual incomes of most Americans have been flat for about 30-40 years, so increases in these cards that lower per-ride taxes are still increasingly burdensome for working-class and middle-income people.
This, in fact, is accepting that we are now all "customers" who "buy" this "commodity" and not New Yorkers whose taxes pay for it already. That has been a slow-aircraft-turning change in the perception of mass transit that has been both insidiously and harshly pounded into mass-transit users. When it was genuinely public, the money we paid for government was the primary source of *public* services rather than purchasers of such that we now have to pay half or more for from the fare box.
Income inequality in NY is SubSaharan, and the MTA wants an across-the-board hike? What about some kind of means test? Also, the process is opaque and undemocratic.
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