Saturday, August 28, 2010
By Azi Paybarah
In advance of this weekend's ninth anniversary of the terrorist attacks that destroyed the World Trade Center, state officials announced a breakthrough, of sorts.
And Matthew Schuerman sends this dispatch:
At WTC today, Port Authority Chairman Anthony Coscia thanked one by one all the parties involved. When he got to developer Larry Silverstein, who's been trying to wrangle more financial aid for the office towers he's building at the site, Coscia said:
"I'm a child of Italian immigrants, and Italians measure the amount of love they have by how much time they spend arguing with each other. By that measure, Larry and I are very much in love with each other on many levels."
Monday, July 26, 2010
(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) The one-day "fun passes" were there at the beginning. Instead of the single-fare ride of $1.50, the "fun cards" cost $4, and were available only in tourist locations. But an outcry ensued, and the fun-cards were sold everywhere, along with the popular $63-a-month unlimited cards, (now $87, soon to approach $100). Those cards, as Second Avenue Sagas and others have pointed out, revolutionized transit.
Used to be we put a token in the turnstile everytime we wanted to ride (there were no transfers from bus to subway, or vice-versa.) Then came the metrocard, just a fancy blue-and-yellow piece of plastic which did the same thing, essentially, as the token, but didn't feel as good in your hand. The MTA resisted offering unlimited rides cards, saying they would be too costly. But shamed by Jim Dwyer, then at the New York Daily News, who exposed the MTA's secret surplus, and Gene Russianoff, then, as now, at the Straphangers Campaign, the MTA (pushed by Republican Governor George Pataki, getting ready to seek re-election) caved, and offered unlimited ride cards.
As it happened, ridership boomed. The MTA did well. Subway trains were on the upswing, Crime went down, stations got spiffy new makeovers. But government funding was drying up, congestion pricing tanked, bridge tolls didn't pass muster with the legislature, the real estate market collapsed. Borrowing that had masked government cuts spurred a big rise in debt service. Transit funding in New York City, and everywhere, entered a long, dark, endless tunnel.
The MTA faced an $800 million deficit, more than the budgets of most U.S. transit systems.
This week, it was leaked that the MTA will likely limit it's unlimited ride cards to 90 rides a month, when it unveils it's fare hike plans Wednesday. Also gone, as WNYC's Matthew Schuerman reports, the one day unlimited ride pass, now $7.
At the MTA, the fun is over.
Monday, July 19, 2010
(Secaucus, New Jersey - Matthew Schuerman, WNYC News) One common piece of advice you'll hear for cutting the household budget is to take public transit. Get out of your car and onto the bus. Or the subway. But in some areas, that financial rule doesn't cut it anymore. Because transit authorities are cutting service and raising fares. Here's how riders in New Jersey are coping with the new math.
Thursday, October 01, 2009
NEW YORK, NY October 01, 2009 —The MTA says a new federal law is forcing it to spend $700 million over the next five years to install an automatic braking system on commuter rail roads. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman has more.