Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Another reason to hate the MTA

The "doomsday" budget plan was approved by the MTA today, which calls for an increase in fares from $2 to $2.50 and service cuts, including cutting over 30 bus lines and the W subway line. 

This is dire news for people like me, who can barely afford to take the subway as it is. It bothers me to see MTA employees standing around on platforms not doing anything, while I'm being squeezed for a fare hike. The colossal waste in MTA operations is staggering to me. Case in point: the other day, I had friends in town who wanted to buy a Metrocard. They put their cash in and the machine didn't spit out a card. They took it to the man in the booth, who told them to call the 1-800-METROCARD number. Well, we got home and called and they spent 10 minutes asking us questions about what happened, only to tell us to go BACK to the station and get an envelope from someone in the booth so that we could mail in the receipt. Was this really necessary?? Poor organization and employees who don't give a shit about their jobs conribute immensely to the fact that I'm now going to have to pay $2.50 to ride the subway.

Some people argue that NYC has one of the cheapest mass transit systems in the world, so we shouldn't be upset about paying more. My feelings on this are many:

1. We also have by far the dirtiest mass transit system I have ever seen. That's gotta count for something. Yeah, we pay about 40% less than Metro riders in Washington D.C., but have you ever seen how clean their system is? I never smell pee there.

2. NYC is also the least car-accessible city I've ever been to. Living in Midtown, I effectively have no choice but to ride mass transit because there's no way I can afford to garage my car and it's illegal to park on my street about 75% of the time. If the city is going to make it illegal for me to park a car on my own street, then mass transit needs to be as accessible as possible.

3. There should be no free bridges with access to Manhattan if the MTA doesn't have enough money and it's quite clear that Manhattan doesn't need any more cars coming and going.

If I didn't think I'd get flattened like a manhole cover, I'd start searching Craigslist for a bike.


  1. kate,

    nyc -or at least most of the four boros-except staten island-are one of the few places anywhere when one can manage without a car for most of their needs.

    now that im in suburbia,a car is a necessity. between depreciation,insurance,repairs,maintenance and gasoline,plus all the different road,gas,inspection and other taxes, it costs me a lot more than $2.50 a trip even with an economical car.

    rather than toll the free remaining free bridges and pit car owner against straphanger,tell the MTA to clean up its act and find a dedicated revenue stream that doesnt hit either the car owner and mass transit rider disproportionately.

  2. When I was visiting NYC from Canada, I bought a metrocard from one of the machines they have set up there. I was supposed to get $2 back in change; I got $1. I went to the booth to ask for the rest of my money and was told to call the MTA. I explained to him that I was a visitor and it didn't make sense to make a 50c pay phone call to get refunded $1. He said "Sorry, the only thing you can do is call."

    I love NYC (it was the second time I visited), but that was ridiculous. That's never happened to me before anywhere.