This episode is from the WNYC archives. It may contain language which is no longer politically or socially appropriate.
Marvin Sleeper hosts.
Klein, a transportation attorney and member of the NYC transit authority, answers questions about the Transit Authority and city administration.
Panelists: Paulette Singer, Michael Drew, and Martin Birmingham.
There is no trend away from mass transportation. Subway riding is down. Changes in fares, combination fares. Advocates for the holding of the fare at current level. By July 1, the NYC Transit Authority must submit a plan to the Board of Estimate about buses. Second Avenue subway is no longer under consideration. Bankrupt bus lines subsidized by the city. Mike Quill's role in the removal of the Tranit Authority. Times Square shuttle trains.
Audio courtesy of the NYC Municipal Archives WNYC Collection
WNYC archives id: 71990
Municipal archives id: LT6654
This is a machine-generated transcript. Text is unformatted and may contain errors.
Off you want people using the City transit system today Mr Klein did Mike will exert any pressure on the government to remove the president Transit Authority well there be a twenty cent fare for the answers to these and other questions listen now to campus press conference transcribed program in which college editors interviewed prominent personalities in the news and here to introduce today's panel and their guest is Marvin sleeper city hall reporter for The New York Journal American Good afternoon and welcome to another edition of campus press conference today our college editors will interview Harris J. Klein a prominent France protection attorney who has just eleven more days to serve as a member of the present New York City Transit Authority I'm Jim 30s Mr Kline on the four other nine salaried members of the authority will relinquish their part time responsibility of running the city's subways and buses the following day a new three man full time board will receive a total of eighty thousand dollars in yearly salaries will take over they were appointed by Mayor Wagner and Governor Herman during Mr Klein's two years of dedicated public service has been the storm center of many a controversy about how the transit system should be run although the president's already relieve a six million dollars surplus prospects for twenty cents there are predicted unless the trend away from mass transportation is check so let's find out from Mr Klein what he believes should be done in the best interests of millions of New York straphangers around our microphones to get the story our college at it is full at singer of The Washington Square bulletin Michael drew of the Fordham RAM and Martin Birmingham of New York University and our first question from Paulette going to stick line earlier this week the archaeal of the private times IT industry said that a twenty cent sale we bought about last likely because of the trend away from mass transit writing do you believe this trend exists. That does not exist and I think that the statement made by Mr Keillor is. Is entirely pessimistic and without a realistic view to the past and future trends in mass transportation that way writing is down yes subway is down but you must remember that the keel statistics started with the peak year of one nine hundred forty seven Naturally if you start with a peak and you look at your value forget the overall picture while it's for I report which I will submit before I relinquish my post will give the overall picture starting with one thousand nine hundred forty which is the date of unification but what it could trend that while the trend will indicate that from nineteen forty the peak was reached in forty seven you realize that those war years old gas rationing no shortage of cars and naturally with those situations most people use the subway but that trend changed in forty seven and with the modern car the cheaper automobile better roads and paths are highways it is only natural that people will use their private car unless they have to use the subway Well do you think in the future then the trend will continue to drop down or will turn and go up now there is what I would call a captive audience in New York City that is those people who must use the subway and while not trying may go down just a bit further it will level off very shortly and you realize we have eight million people living in New York City and we certainly don't have eight million people on cars in New York City do you think a twenty cent fare would further reduce this twenty cents a word is to me something which is a dream it will never happen in the city in New York in my opinion. Well with the client with the replacement of the five man non-celebrity transit authority by the three men salaried board and the demand of the Transport Workers Union for an across the board increase of seventeen cents hourly wage does it seem possible that the fifteen cent present subways can be maintained. Yes yes my report will reveal statistical data to indicate that we could give our workers a fair raise and still have a substantial sector so what do you consider a fairer raise that is something which I can't do this time comment done because the new authority will have to make up its opinion as to that subject but I believe that Major General Hugh Casey who is the chairman of the transit authority recently stated that the authority would not go beyond a five point three cents hourly wage increase for the workers of the transit system and while on the other hand the union is demanding as I mentioned seventeen cents hourly wage increase for its members so is there is a strike inevitable. Major General General Casey made a statement on behalf of four members of the may have for five so that I didn't subscribe to that statement and therefore I won't comment any further thank you but how do you think we can keep the fair down at fifteen cents with the trend going down would you say you haven't committed yourself whether or not the trend will level off and stay as it is now how do you hyper absolutely said that the trend will level off very very shortly as a matter of fact in my old possible opinion and the S.S.T. sexual show an upturn rather than a continuation of the downward trend What do you base that I base that on the fact that we are finally reaching a leveling off period and I base that upon a graph which I will present in my final report which is back for many many years it doesn't start at fifty at forty seven but rather it starts at nine hundred forty I last saw some lead graphs of Private First companies Grasso vill York City bus lines and you must remember Mr Keel merely submitted a graph of the subway system. What would you say how much would you say that the. Travel on subways and buses has decreased since a normal period before the war less than sixteen percent or one that's pretty good well I wouldn't littering and when you're more it's going to generally are the number of cars I would say I would say that was a normal drop and you must also consider New York City's population has increased and some of those approaches cause but there are other solutions which I will submit are helpful along these lines you asked me about the fifteen cent fare and you didn't give me a chance to answer it suppose I answer it now the fifteenth said Fair will remain I will advocate every doctrine and that fair and I will give fagots to substantiate the reasons for that we got. For example under the present testing sense there we now have a surplus for a two year period of close to twenty million dollars that isn't paid. And that can go a long way to take care then a increase in wage and still leave a cushion before the new without any is finished really just when you're Spock's as the old Authority did I think the surplus might be in the neighborhood of thirty million dollars Well now those things are hedging against wage increases and a slight decline Mr Klein possibly you could outline some of the programs that you inaugurated that save the city so much money you mentioned twenty million dollars I'm going Well I don't want to discuss things that we which we that I would consider that the well itself praise at this time let's wish the new authority a great deal of luck in their and their position and let's not talk about what we accomplished let's talk look in the future and let's see what they can account. Tell me Mr Kline you so you think there might be a reduction in the fair. What do you think it might be reduced to safely. I think it will and could and should very reduced for a combination ride of two for a quarter in other words a combination ride of subway and bus or bus and subway for a quarter some years ago we did have a combination drive and that combination right should be once again reintroduced into New York City because your principal drop is in your short haul bus trips those bus lines which connect are. What we call a they they lead up to the subway station many people do they walk if it's a short distance but with a combination fare of twenty five cents fifteen for the subway and ten for the bus a great deal of passengers will be attracted to less carbonation fare and I might point up that we have such combination fares in the cities of San Francisco Boston Philadelphia and Chicago and otherwise when you are in Chicago for example you pay one fare you can ride by either bus and subway or subway and bus New York is the only city that has single thing as each type of transportation that's one great point which I think will attract riders and which will bring in additional revenue you have the people a a better ride for cheaper money and still show more props bring them out of their cars and back into the subway car that's right for example I live in a isolated section known as Manhattan Beach which is about ten blocks from the subway I noticed that in race since the race. People will walk those ten blocks to the subway because it's fifteen percent for a ten block walk plus a ride of fifteen cents to the city where the combination fast twenty five cents those people will once again use those bus Now let me tell you some of the fault with the single fare you may not know it but it costs fifty five cents to go from one part of Brooklyn to another part of Brooklyn while it only costs fifteen cents to go from the Bronx to Cali that that's because in a single thing as on the various bus lines on one model other instance which is more important in one direction you get a free transfer for example going from McDonald's over to change adding and Bedford you're paying a sell off there and going in the revised direction your pick to phase out those are the things which exist in this cockeye subway bus system Oh you think then that this transfer system could be changed so that a ride from the tip of the Bronx to Coney Island my course thirty cents while this trip with in Brooklyn could be reduced from fifty five cents to thirty cents an hour right from the from the Bronx to Conny island should be fifteen cents while a ride from Brooklyn to another point in Brooklyn should also be no more than fifteen to. Well we have the longest I understand along a subway ride in the world for fifteen cents single ride. Do you think it might be equitable to charge two fares between the two most distant points within the three boroughs no why not for the reason that no place in the world where we have the congestion and the mass transportation as you have a nice subway system and therefore it can afford to give you this long ride for fifteen cents for example you would I know that if you went to worldwide You can buy something for ten or fifteen cents on the other hand the same product at one of the high class stores which are one of this kind once a month with Question thirty sets so that mass production and mass movement of passengers is the reason for the cheap fence and as a matter of fact without the cheap very You would have no New York City so then you advocate a longer ride for the same fare or wherever you go I advocate the holding of the fare and the possible reduction of. With this idea running so I can stand with this be only a between buses that are run by the transfer the Floridian the subway or what appear range with private bus companies which will it can only be between buses owned by the city and the subway system the transit authority has no jurisdiction over the fares and rates of private bus lines and what it involves some sort of transfer Yes How would that be collected I mean most people now can put the token running slot in their gun liable to be congestion if they have to give a piece of paper or something like that after many years we've had transfers at various points and we still have paper transfers of various points in the city in the congestion there's not much of this because of this decline you said that if you establish this transfer system it would have to be only with the lines owned by the city but isn't it true that according to the law that set up the terms and it's already the authority has to sell all its own members facilities by July first of this year now law provides that by July first the New York City Transit I found I must develop a plan to submit to the bottom estimate that plan has been passed today and is being submitted to the Board of Estimate it will be made public tomorrow I don't want an approximately how long do you think the city will no longer be owning bus companies I think the city will own bus companies as long as you are in layers the cities will net the city will never sell lease bus lines in Brooklyn and Queens and Staten Island my opinion why not well for example who would buy a losing proposition in Staten Island the bus lines lose approximately two million dollars a year what businessman in their right mind would buy and what percentage of the bus lines in the whole city does this does the transit authority Oh now I would know the answer to that percentage wise. Mr Klein when talks began of the abolishment of the Third Avenue well statements were made by many city officials that the Elwood not be done away with until the Second Avenue subway had been completed and now the Manhattan branch of the yellow has been taken out of service and nothing has been said about the Second Avenue Subway is the idea of a Second Avenue Subway still under consideration or has it been abandoned while I dissented from in the discussions to discontinue service on the failed Avenue well until the Second Avenue Subway died I think that it's shameful that the second adding Assembly has not been started up to date but aside from that of the accept that as of July first made it very plain that nothing is in the offing for at least ten years but the plan as yet has not been abandoned. In other words the idea of a Second Avenue Subway has not been drawn to just that it's been postponed for ten years or so while it hasn't been postponed it has been really been shelved there is a there are some allocation of monies for that Second Avenue Subway subway in the capital budget while no one nine hundred fifty one the people of the city of New York voted on a five hundred dollars five hundred thousand a million dollar bond issue to build the Second Avenue subway the no strand Dabney extension and then you would add an extension unfortunately about one hundred ninety one million dollars of that has already been spent for other projects which leaves nothing left for the Second Avenue Subway that to me was a direct violation and I am are all this obedience of the law itself but it was done and that that one hundred ninety one million dollars practically one hundred eighty million has already been spent diverted out of this original five hundred million dollar fund how is it then spent if there is a standard and other major improvements in the subway system. W