Five days ago New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson unveiled an online chart and map system to helo showcase the potential “draconian” service cuts we might face. Let me start by sharing the press release issued for the new feature:
New York City Comptroller William C. Thompson, Jr. today unveiled an on-line chart and map system to help transit users understand the potential impacts of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) proposed service cuts.
“The MTA has proposed drastic service cuts and a huge fare hike of 23% — both of which would severely burden New Yorkers,” Thompson said. “My office has created a chart and mapping system that allows New Yorkers to see exactly how the MTA’s proposed service cuts would affect their subway and bus lines.”
Thompson’s system, which can be accessed at www.comptroller.nyc.gov, allows users to input a ZIP code to see a table and map of what the 318 proposed MTA cuts would mean to their neighborhoods. Users also can search by subway line or bus route to see a table of the proposed cuts.
The service cut site also includes an easy-to-use sharing feature where New Yorkers can invite others to use the system to see how their transit service will be affected, either with a direct e-mail or by posting it on their Facebook or other social networking page.
“The more informed New Yorkers are about the MTA’s proposed cuts, the better they can communicate to their representatives in Albany about why they should be prevented,” Thompson said.
The system also links to KeepNewYorkMoving.com, a site where riders can urge State legislators to fund transit.
In December 2008, the MTA announced a $1.2 billion deficit and proposed closing the gap with a 23% fare hike and major service cuts. The MTA’s proposed cuts to New York City’s subways and buses would increase crowding and passenger waiting times, and in many cases, cut service completely.
Among the subway cuts proposed are the elimination of the W and Z lines and portions of the M and G; fewer trains during mid-days, weekends, evenings and late nights; and a loss of 211 station booths or customer agents. Five stations would lose late-night train service altogether. A total of 56 bus lines would lose service on weekdays or weekends, with other service reductions on another 29.
Thompson’s alternative to the MTA’s proposal is a weight-based vehicle annual registration fee of $100 for vehicles of 2,300 pounds or less, plus 9 cents for every pound over that. Coupled with the reinstatement of the commuter tax or a payroll tax, this plan would generate almost $2 billion a year for transit.
Currently, State legislators are considering recommendations by the Ravitch Commission to fund transit, along with other proposals including Thompson’s. The MTA has said it needs an influx of funds no later than March 25th, or it will have to move ahead with the hikes and cuts.
Thompson also has called on City Hall to block the proposed increase in Access-A-Ride paratransit fares from $2 to as much as $5 per trip, an increase of 150%. The City can block the increase according to a 1993 Memorandum of Understanding between the MTA and the City that Thompson discovered late last year.
Click here for the direct link to the online system.
I decided to give the system a quick test run. I have to say I am a bit disappointed at some of the mistakes I noticed with it. I plugged in a few zip codes including one I lived in for almost 3 years & the information was not 100% accurate. If you are aiming to make a statement with any sort of new project or idea, it is vital to have 100% accuracy in terms of the information given. When one does not have this, it makes their statement or initiative fall flat.
xoxo Transit Blogger