THE COMMUTE: This past week the MTA unveiled a series of progressive initiatives, including additional restorations of service that were cut in June 2010. Prior to those service reductions, the media paid little attention to them. The headlines mainly revolved around the MTA’s plan to cut student fares. It wasn’t until years later, when the impacts were fully felt, that public outcry began and service restorations were made. The first round included the return of the truncated portions of the B4 and B64 — which were not replaced by other routes — earlier this year.
Archive for the tag 'transfers'
THE COMMUTE: Subway, bus, and railroad fares, as well as tolls for bridges and tunnels operated by the MTA, are all higher. The new subway and bus fare went into effect yesterday while the higher railroad fare took effect on Friday.
The new fare and toll prices can be found on links from the MTA’s home page. The base subway and bus fare is now $2.50 for a one way trip. Weekly and monthly unlimited passes are also higher. Are these higher fares and tolls fair? No. Were they necessary? You will have to decide that for yourself.
As mayoral candidate John Liu stated at the recent mayoral debate on transit issues, transit needs an ongoing revenue stream. As candidate Bill Thompson stated, we need to fund transit fairly, it needs to be more affordable and existing dollars need to be spent correctly. And as candidate Tom Allon stated, we need to think of more creative financing.
I couldn’t agree more with those statements.
In a previous article, I also asked the question: What’s A Fair Fare? I highlighted the need for a time-based fare rather than one that is vehicle-based and the need for free transfers between local, limited Select Buses, whereby those transfers do not preclude you from receiving a second transfer to another local, express bus or subway. The MTA must also re-institute its longstanding policy that service changes will not result in the necessity of extra fares.
We cannot continue to raise fares and tolls every two years or more frequently — it is not a long-term solution, especially when New Yorkers already pay for a higher portion of transit costs through the fare than any other major city. Sooner or later our elected officials will have to recognize that. I really have nothing more to say on the subject.
If you want to read more about what this new fare hike means to you, I suggest you read Ben Kabak’s article on Second Avenue Sagas.
The Commute is a weekly feature highlighting news and information about the city’s mass transit system and transportation infrastructure. It is written by Allan Rosen, a Manhattan Beach resident and former Director of MTA/NYC Transit Bus Planning (1981).
Disclaimer: The above is an opinion column and may not represent the thoughts or position of Sheepshead Bites. Based upon their expertise in their respective fields, our columnists are responsible for fact-checking their own work, and their submissions are edited only for length, grammar and clarity. If you would like to submit an opinion piece or become a regularly featured contributor, please e-mail nberke [at] sheepsheadbites [dot] com.
THE COMMUTE: November 7, 2012, is when the Brooklyn hearing for the 2013 proposed fare and toll hikes is scheduled. If that evening is inconvenient for you, another will be held on the November 13, 2012 in Manhattan. The MTA is also accepting video testimony during the day at selected locations. That testimony should be incorporated into the official record, according to the MTA. However, at the service cut hearings in 2010, 90 minutes of the Brooklyn testimony was omitted from the official record, including my three minutes. When I informed the MTA of that “error,” I was written that it would be inserted if they got the chance. It never was.
A complete list of hearing sites can be found here. A presentation to the chairman [PDF] has some interesting charts regarding the percentages of various income groups using different types of passes and bonuses and those who pay full fare. No data is provided regarding who pays double fares to reach their destinations and will, therefore, be hit twice.
The MTA developed four scenarios regarding the transit fare increase. It is important that you make yourself heard not only to the MTA, but also to our state officials, so they will see and know that their constituents care about this issue, and will hopefully wake up and increase MTA funding.
THE COMMUTE: My First Bus Ride
After spending 45 minutes exiting Chicago O’Hare International Airport, since there were no clear airport exit signs, I finally arrived at the PACE bus stop to get to Evanston. I could have taken the train, but that would have meant a long, indirect trip through downtown. I got lost a few times, mistakenly following signs to ground transportation rather than to Airport Transit (the airport’s internal rail line), which accessed PACE buses.
THE COMMUTE: Hey, let’s give Chicago top billing for a change. I’ve always wondered why Downtown Chicago retained its Els when New York City decided to get rid of them in Downtown and Midtown. I think I figured out the reason on a five-day trip to Chicago in August.
While most of New York’s elevated lines were built over streets — many of them from building line to building line, blocking out virtually all natural sunlight below — that isn’t the case with what remains of Chicago’s downtown elevated lines, called “The Loop.” Most Chicago Els were built along existing alleyways, something that New York has few of, and on embankments much like the Brighton line. An alleyway, for those who do not know, is a street primarily for deliveries that faces the rear of buildings. They have no windows looking out onto the alleyway; there are no storefronts facing it and there is no sidewalk. In Chicago they can extend for miles, not just for a block or two like in New York.
In Downtown Chicago, some Els were built over the streets, but the outer two tracks in downtown were removed so that the two tracks that remain are over the center of the street, allowing light to hit the buildings and street below. Contrast that with our three track Els along McDonald Avenue or New Utrecht Avenue, which reach nearly from building line to building line, or the six-track El over Brighton Beach Avenue.
Chicago built its first subway line the same time we were constructing our IND system. Most of Chicago’s rapid transit system today is still comprised of Els. There are only about nine subway stops in Chicago. My guess is that some El lines were demolished with others reduced from four tracks to two at the same time the subway was built in downtown.
THE COMMUTE: For the third consecutive year, the MTA released the results of its satisfaction surveys for each mode of travel / agency, using a 1 through 10 rating system, on September 24th. An earlier format, using letter grades A through F for buses in 2009 and subways in 2006 and 2007, was abandoned because a C- response for many questions was not to the Authority’s liking. Those surveys used larger samples and some responses were broken down by line for comparison.
Using a 1 through 10 scale provides results that appear to be more favorable, since a 50 percent satisfaction level is considered a passing grade, which would be failing under a letter grade system. In the end it really doesn’t matter since the survey results are mostly meaningless, as I will explain later.
A summary of results appears in the MTA general press release and states categories, which show subway satisfaction increases and that bus satisfaction remained stable. It directs you to attached press releases by specific agency for more details. However, the only one available on the website is for Metro-North (MNR). Ned provided me with the New York City Transit press release, which makes no mention of a decrease in the perception of subway personal security and is not as glowing as the MNR press release.
The press release only states for buses that satisfaction levels are stable and that 13 percent of subway riders switched from local bus to subway: 10 percent in the past five years and seven percent in the past year. Half said they switched because bus service was too slow. The survey does not state how many switched due to service cutbacks or if that was a choice. Off-peak riders were 11 percent more satisfied than peak riders.
THE COMMUTE: Most likely $2.50.
But the real question is: What will happen to the bonuses and unlimited passes? Those discounts have been decreasing with each fare increase and the MTA is now proposing to eliminate the modest seven percent bonus when paying for at least $10 in rides. Also, last time the MTA tried to cap the unlimited passes but, instead, chose to steeply increase their cost, making them less useful for some.
Several months ago, MTA Chairman Joseph Lhota postponed the next fare from January to March 2013 because the MTA’s finances were in better shape than previously thought. So it came quite as a surprise when he announced on September 12 that eliminating the bonuses or discounts should be considered because the MTA only receives $1.63 for each $2.25 trip made.
THE COMMUTE: So far we discussed the railroads and elevated lines that preceded and later became part of the subway system, the original three subway divisions – IRT, BMT and IND, the last two being merged with the opening of the Chrystie Street connection in 1967 – the Dual Contracts, the decline of the elevated system as a separate transportation mode, the rise, decline and renaissance of the subways, and, finally, a little about subway comfort and subway nomenclature and how florescent lighting brightened the system.
In this final part we ask some crucial questions relating to the future of the subway system, mention subjects we did not discuss, and provide sources for additional information.
THE COMMUTE: In Part 4 of my “A Brief History Of The Subway System” series (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3), we discussed the decline of the subways and its renaissance. Today we discuss the merger of the BMT and IND, the history of subway nomenclature and the dawn of florescent lighting.
THE COMMUTE: In Part 1, we discussed the rail and elevated lines which preceded the first subway. In Part 2, we started discussing the Dual Contracts. Yesterday, we discussed decline of the elevated system and the rise of the subway system. Today, we continue discussing the subways’ decline and its renaissance.
The Decline of the Subways
What if the automobile had not become so popular and highways were not built to accommodate them? Surely rapid transit would have continued to flourish. Instead, you can count on your fingers the number of new subway stations constructed and opened since the end of World War II. When you consider all the Els that were demolished and not replaced, there are less rapid transit miles in service today than there were right before World War II.