MetroCard Cap Would Hurt Messengers

One of the biggest bombshells to come from recent leaks about the upcoming fare hike was the MTA’s plans to put a cap on “unlimited” weekly & monthly MetroCards. I for one opined how ridiculous such a proposal was & how it would hurt a lot more riders (including myself) compared to what the MTA thinks based on their data.

When I first read about the potential cap, one of the first type of riders I thought would be severely affected would be messengers. I know a number of messengers personally & have seen firsthand how many trips they get out of their unlimited cards. The cards look like they have been through hell, fire, & brimstone after being swiped so many times.

This morning’s Wall Street Journal will take a look at this angle of the fare hike courtesy of a report by Andrew Grossman:

Most bus and subway riders face fare increases of between 4% and 11% in January. A to Z Couriers NYC Inc. will pay 400% more to cover its subway rides.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is considering ending the $89 unlimited 30-day MetroCard that enables the company’s messengers to spend all day riding Manhattan subways delivering packages. The MTA would instead sell a pass good for 90 rides over 30 days, according to people familiar with the matter. The messengers—some of whom take 20 subway trips a day—would go through one such pass a week, according to company owner Adam Dally.

The cap is meant to help keep the cost of a 30-day pass from rising higher than $99—the level under consideration by the MTA—in January. Seven percent of current 30-day pass users would be affected by the cap, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Many courier services took to the subways when the MTA introduced the unlimited MetroCard in 1998. The pass was part of a plan pushed by then-Gov. George Pataki to boost ridership. It worked. The unlimited cards have also brought deep discounts for their users, whom officials say tend to be among the MTA’s more affluent riders. Currently, the average 30-day pass user pays $1.29 per ride—though that’s likely brought down by extreme users such as messengers.

Click here for the complete report.

Let me ignore the messenger aspect of the story & hone in on the thought that unlimited card users tend to be among the MTA’s “more affluent riders”. This has to be the dumbest logic I have ever heard. So because a high percentage of people choose to purchase unlimited cards due to it making more financial sense, that makes us more affluent? Tell that to the high percentage of riders who have to budget for the card as a necessity instead of a luxury.

To assume that such riders are more affluent & more in line to pay more for less is not only fair but downright insulting. If this kind of “data” & “logic” are what is used to make decisions, no wonder we as riders get the short end of the stick often.

Should I be surprised at such idiotic logic? I mean we have a percentage of people who think those who live in NYC & drive to work instead of using mass transit are well off & should pay higher costs because they are so rich & can afford to do so. Good one…..

xoxo Transit Blogger

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