Tuesday, June 26, 2007

New York City Transit: Gloomy Gus or Liars and Thieves?

Our petite, recently de-Republicanized mayor Bloomie's got a tough row to hoe with pushing through his (totally awesome!) congestion pricing plan. Albany's been hating on it, which is no surprise given their adversarial relationship with the city (biting the hand that feeds them copious amounts of tax dollars, I say).

Anyway, today the MTA announced that it would not be able to sustain an additional influx of subway riders likely to result from the plan. The 1,2,3,4,5, and 6 trains, in particular, are operating at maximum capacity. That is, rush hour trains are packed to the gills, clown car style, and are running as frequently as possible. As MTA president Howard Roberts so weirdly put it, "There's no room in the inn." (Um, should I bed down in the stable instead?)

I ride the trains every day, and, yes, they're pretty stinking crowded. But can we really trust the MTA's assessment of anything at this point? Remember that track fire on the A line that emanated from a machine room that they tried to blame on a non-existent homeless man? Then they said the train would be out of commission for at least a year and a half while the ancient pieces were reforged (presumably their plan entailed building a time machine to travel back to 1920 to recover the original fittings?). Oh, and you can't forget when they cooked the books, keeping a false set of records to suggest that an earlier than anticipated fare increase was in order? Or how about every single day of your life when your local train starts running express, weekend service changes leave you stranded, or you stand on the platform with 500 other angry people waiting 40 minutes for a train that really has no excuse for not having shown up sooner. I mean, has the MTA ever given us a straightforward piece of information or done right by us?

I totally appreciate public transportation and realize that the system is vast and a bitch to maintain. And it doesn't surprise me that it's really passenger interference (whether by illness, holding doors open, or criminal malfeasance) that, more often than not, makes trains run late. I think our system is pretty good, especially considering how decrepit it is. All I'm saying is that the MTA lies like a dog on a rug.

Anyway, I'm curious to see how this shakes out. The MTA under Pataki was ugly, but I thought Elliot "Steamroller" Spitzer was going to bully them into compliance. Perhaps all of the MTA's sniveling will earn us even more money from the Feds to get the scheme up and running?

10 comments:

Russ said...

Isn't it "Fucking Steamroller"? God, I love him.

Anyway, the tube in London is WAY more crowded than the subway in NYC. The trains are smaller and shorter and at least as many people ride them, I'm sure. I would change trains twice a day at Liverpool Street and would literally have to wait at least 5 trains before I could get on, and being able to get on means making your way to the front of the seething mass of people so that you are so close to the edge of the platform that your hair literally blows up in the air when the train comes and you can almost feel the cool metal on your nose. If you stand at a safe distance, you will never, ever get on the train. Maybe at like 11 when it's quieter. But not during rush hour.

And people deal with it. NYers will deal with it. If they get the chance to.

Sean said...

Yep London's more crowded. But it sucks-- I defo wouldn't advocate it. Of course, when it gets that crowded some people will find alternative routes or travel at different times (i.e. me).

R2B2 said...

The loud upholstery on the tube makes it feel even more crowded.

Little Blue PD said...

We all have to wonder what Bloomberg is really thinking of with this congestion pricing tax scheme. Maybe he mostly just wants a new tax. Just wrap it up in 'concern for the environment', and people can just demonize those who oppose it.

If he cares so much about traffic jams, congestion and air pollution, why does he let Park Avenue be blocked off? Why doesn't he do anything about that?

Pershing Square Restaurant blocks Park Avenue going South at 42nd St. for 12 hours a day/6 months of the year! This Causes Massive Congestion & Air Pollution!

But apparently it does not bother NYC's Nanny-in-Chief Mike "Congestion Pricing Tax" Bloomberg? Check out the map!

http://whataplanet.blogspot.com
http://preview.tinyurl.com/38obfd

Check it out!

Thanks,

Little Blue PD

:)

Sean said...

The other thing we have in London in addition to over crowded tubes, is a congestion charge (there is no cause and effect there-- the tubes were overcrowded before the congestion charge came in).

On the whole the congestion charge has been a success in reducing traffic in the charging zone (which they are extending). The rest of London is still a traffic nightmare...

ed said...

I couldn't agree more with a congestion charge. Perhaps if it was brought into Atlanta more people would actually use Public Transport , which is sadly underused here , leading it to poor quality and service.Catch 22 methinks. BTW very interesting stuff all this,and something that is going to be at the heart of how society changes over the next few decades,can New York and Atlanta take on global warming succesfully? and how will they accomplish this?, if its a competition then my money is on New York.,hey a competition, maybe that is how the Federal Govt can get involved, giving monies to cities that reach certain green standards, we all like money.

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