MTA: Less for More

Thursday, November 20, 2008

New York Daily News transit reporter Pete Donohue again on the fare increase announcement at the MTA budget meeting. Plus, transit expert Robert "Buzz" Paaswell, director of the University Transportation Research Center at City College, on the broader implications for transit workers and riders.


Pete Donohue and Robert "Buzz" Paaswell

Comments [14]

jack from brooklyn, NY

I live in Brooklyn Ny and I wait for the C train at the 14th and 8th ave station at rush hour every day. And honest to goodness I have seen as many as 5 E-trains pass through the station (almost empty) before a C or A train arrives... why not eliminate the half the E (since you can walk to the wtc from chambers street) and turn the remaining half of the E trains into a C/E train that runs local through brooklyn and follows the tradional E-train line in queens? because watching those empty E trains go by is wicked frustrating, and has to be a bit of a waste.

Nov. 21 2008 03:01 AM
jtt from nyc


They can't afford to live in Manhattan.

Why don't you take a nice walk to Coney Island for minimum wage?

Nov. 20 2008 12:28 PM
LeoinNYC from Soho

To Evil Doppelganger Leo (from Queens):

Regional transportation initiatives are great but we have a fundamental problem with the poor pattern of transit decision-making for New York City. Right now NYCers have no lever of control whatsoever on their most precious infrastructure resource. That is unacceptable. While giving the mayor (or a public-advocate-like transit commissioner) control is not a panacea by any means, it is a necessary first step. Without it we are dependent on the whims and vicissitudes of Albany and can't force ANY change, regional or otherwise.

However you may personally feel about our public schools or the tax rebate, we know exactly who to blame and what to do about it. They are the mayor's problems and if enough people are unhappy about them he won't get re-elected.

Besides, for better or worse the trains are not the schools: there's no finessing a long commute or spinning a fare hike. We all know it when it happens.

Nov. 20 2008 12:09 PM
Gary from UWS

Jtt, they can walk. It's good exercise. Just like David in Chelsea will.

Nov. 20 2008 12:06 PM
jtt from nyc

Rusty and Gary:

I hope your maids don't need to take the subway to work...

The New Yorkers with the LEAST money are the MOST dependent on public transportation.

What is a fair price for an ABSOLUTE NECESSITY with NO alternitive?

Nov. 20 2008 12:02 PM
Leo from Queens

To Post #2 - We need a REGIONAL transportation system, not a NYC only public transit system - We need competent people who are accountable and who understand the environmental and economic growth benefits of having a well run effective regional transportation system.
You think that handing control to the mayor and City Council will result in rational decisions? - Just take a look at the $400 Tax rebate - It's an inefficient program used to manipulate and insult voters for political gains. Look at the Education dept. There is currently no transparency or accountability. The mayor writes his own report card. We don't know if we are educating kids that are qualified to go to college and succeed. But we know we are training them to barely pass A multiple choice test.

Nov. 20 2008 11:58 AM
david from NYC

I live in chelsea and work in wall street I recently canceled my etrac card which deducted $81.00 a month from my payroll for a monthly card which was pre-taxed, I refuse to pay anymore than I do, I will now be getting up a little earlier and will walk to work and only use the subway when necessary, so MTA you just lost my $81.00 a month.

Nov. 20 2008 11:55 AM
MLJ from Brooklyn

Big developers and employers should be required to contribute funds to public transportation. Real estate developers make millions on new properties and without contributing anything to the infrastructure of NYC communities, while large corporations feed off the city to bring in their employees from the outer boroughs and the tristate area at no cost to them.

Nov. 20 2008 11:55 AM
Ian from Brooklyn

A lot of these cuts are used to villanize the employee. It is contract time. Watch a surplus magically appear after negotiations.

Nov. 20 2008 11:54 AM
LeoinNYC from Soho

Anything to avoid a fare hike. Seriously. We want more people riding the trains and fewer people in cars. Tax gas; sell the east river bridges to the MTA and toll them; tax taxis. Oh -- and charge a fare for the Staten Island ferry to maintain service. I live on Staten Island, and I don't mid paying .25 cents a ride if it means keeping the same schedule. Don't keep it free while cutting service -- that's just stupid.

Nov. 20 2008 11:54 AM
Gary from UWS

MTA has the same problem as airlines--charging too little for the value received by customers.

MTA's solution (as well as the solution for airlines) should be to double fares to $4. The results will be:

- Less congestion
- More pleasant riding experience for customers
- Money to improve stations, infrastructure and trains

Nov. 20 2008 11:53 AM
steve adler from bronx


It is not big SUV's and undersized funding for the MTA that are the problems. It is that our local and national laws give the MTA and similar agencies a monopoly on surface transit. The result is those with big SUV's - or ordinary sized cars -- can't fill them up with passengers using the ordinary market processes.

If you want greener cars -- meaning, in this case , cars with more people in them -- use greener markets -- markets that more efficiently allocate resources. There hasn't been a natural monopoly for surface transit since before the demise of the street cars. The current monopoly -- the MTA – is an anti-green dinosaur -- a product of social inertia.

Opening up the market for surface transit would bring about a ubiquitous system of largely owner-driven vans and cars providing an order of magnitude more service than today's buses. Such a system would require no subsidy, would draw people out of one-person cars and taxis and would reduce congestion, pollution etc. It would also save a tremendous amount of time for those who take buses today.

For the complete study on which these comments are based, contact the author at

Nov. 20 2008 11:13 AM
LeoinNYC from Soho


It is crazy that the agency that most directly controls the fate of millions of working New Yorkers is run primarily by the governor. This arrangement removes real political accountability from the governance of our transit system by diluting NYC's votes with the rest of the state. New Yorkers need to be able to make rational decisions about, and demand transparency from their own transit system. Which you do by being able to "vote the bums out."

A good first move: separate funding for operations from capital improvements so we can have safe, reliable service. Building new lines, etc. should be a political decision, funded by bonds, and state and federal grants.

Nov. 20 2008 10:21 AM
Leo from Queens

Brian, can you and Pete Donohue come clean with taxpayers and listeners and state that the MAYOR AND GOVERNOR control the MTA and should be held accountable for it's mismanagement.

Also, isn't the reduction in service basically encouraging auto use and working against congestion? We have seen an increase in vehicular traffic on weekends since 2002 because subway service has been dramatically reduced and what is left is very erratic on weekends

Nov. 20 2008 10:10 AM

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