Political Group Wants Riders To Help Fight The Hike

When you pick up your Tuesday copy of the New York Daily News, you will see an article writing by Joseph Addabbo Jr. Mr. Addabbo along with his fellow Queens Councilman John Liu are part of the team which brings you the anti-fare hike site Fight The Hike 08. The group will unveil its plan to starve off a potential fare hike next year. For now here is a sample of Mr. Addabbo’s article which will appear in today’s New York Daily News:

The MTA apparently has a time machine. Last month the authority announced that it wants to make history for the second time since the 1980s by raising the fare yet again for a second consecutive year. The announcement tops off what has been a year of outrageous forays into transportation proposals paid for on the backs of the middle class.

The MTA has a widening budget gap of nearly $900 million and it expects transit riders to pay the bill. But I am not convinced that service has improved since March, even when the MTA raised the monthly MetroCard rate, a move that targeted commuters rather than tourists, yet the MTA expects the middle class to shell out more for the shortfall.

I’m starting a campaign to Fight the Hike in order to make our voices heard. Visit www.fightthehike08.com to register your opposition and find out what you can do to keep the subway affordable. Look for me at various Queens subway stops where I’ll be out talking to commuters and collecting signatures, so we can let the MTA know that Queens says “no” to any future fare hikes.

Click here to read the complete article.

Lets be frank here, signatures even if it came from every NYC resident would not starve off a fare hike. What would stop a fare hike? The one thing that regardless of the industry makes the world go around, & that is money. So lets skip over the meaningless signature drives & focus on finding ways to get much deserved funding for the MTA. Money talks, bullshit walks!

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Singing The Same Old Tune

The world of local transit news has been relatively quiet over the last week. This worked out great for me as I was extremely lethargic for most of last week & coupled with having little time, I could not update the blog. The biggest piece of news for the week came on Thursday with the release of a 3 page report by New York City’s Independent Budget Office. The report basically repeated the same tune many including myself have sung for ages. Here is a brief look at the 3 page report from an article by Sewell Chan (w/ contributions by Ken Belson) of the New York Times’ City Room Blog:

State and city subsidies to the Metropolitan Transportation Authority have remained largely flat since 1990, exacerbating the authority’s fiscal pressures at a time when it is threatening to raise fares and facing steep deficits because of the turbulence in the real estate market, according to a new report.

The three-page report [pdf], released by the city’s Independent Budget Office on Thursday, did not make any policy recommendations, but it suggested that the intense news coverage of the authority’s troubled finances has largely overlooked the issue of government subsidies. The authority collects far more revenue from subway, bus and commuter rail fares, dedicated taxes, and bridge and tunnel tolls than it draws from direct government aid.

“It remains to be decided whether new types of subsidies are necessary, or whether existing levels should be altered by adjusting terms that have held some subsides flat for a decade,” the report’s authors, Alan Treffeisen and Doug Turetsky, wrote. “But in order to best decide how to aid the M.T.A. in the future, a common understanding of how much assistance the city and state provide today is needed.”

Click here to read the full report.

This report did nothing but sing the same tune many have sang for ages. People in touch with the daily happenings & needs of our system know that our government on all levels is as much if not more so to blame for the MTA’s financial crisis than the agency itself. This is a severe black eye for government considering how the MTA is not exactly the most fiscally responsible operation.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Service Diversions 08-15

Let me first apologize for the lack of site updates this week & for posting the service diversions for the weekend & next week so late.

Anyhow the page has been updated & I advise you print it out to carry with you while riding the subway. As always may all of you have a safe ride to & from your destination.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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MTA’s New Escalators Off To A Bumpy Start

Yesterday the MTA debuted the 35 variable speed escalators installed at 4 subway stations in Manhattan & Queens. The escalators which use infrared motion sensors to determine what speed to operate at were put in place to help cut down on energy consumption. As one would expect from anything new especially coming from the MTA, the debut did not go off without problems. The New York Times’ Sewall Chan along with contributions from David Giambusso filed this report:

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s experiment to introduce 35 “green” escalators in four subway stations started with a lurch on Monday. In some places, it didn’t start at all.

Escalators at the 34th Street-Herald Square and Roosevelt Island stations in Manhattan and the Jamaica-Van Wyck and Jamaica Center-Parsons/Archer stations in Queens were to begin operating at variable speed, as part of a pilot program to save energy and reduce wear and tear on escalator components.

According to signs posted by the authority, each escalator was equipped with an infrared motion sensor that “sees’ customers approaching and ‘tells’ the escalator to speed up.” The escalators are supposed to slow to just 15 feet per minute when no one is on them, from the normal speed of 100 feet per minute. The escalators gradually accelerate to the full speed, over a few seconds, once a rider steps on.

Late in the day, officials acknowledged that only 22 of the 35 escalators at the four stations were working as intended. (The subway system has 169 escalators.)

Click here for the complete report.

While it is nice to see the MTA try new ways to cut down on energy consumption & costs (doubtful), I will stick by my statement from last week:

I honestly think the MTA should first figure out a better way of maintaining their current crop of escalators before moving on to bigger & better things.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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Riders Upset About Changes Due To Select Bus Service

Those who know me know I like to read neighborhood newspapers or websites as you never know what you might come across. I’m glad that I am this way as I came across a very interesting story in the Norwood News. The story discussed how some Bronx riders were upset at the Select Bus Service on the Bx12. Their anger stems from the fact that the new service caused them to lose local service into Manhattan as well as their local bus stop. Stephen Baron of the Norwood News filed this report:

Hundreds of west Bronx bus riders are calling for the city to make traveling from Fordham Road to Manhattan easier by restoring local service to Manhattan and restoring a bus stop that was eliminated with the debut of the new, supposedly faster Select Bus Service.

Angry residents say the changes are seriously inconveniencing riders and that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) did not get community input before eliminating both the Bx12 local service into Manhattan and the Sedgwick Avenue stop on the new Select Bus Service (SBS) route (which used to be part of the old Bx12 Limited route).

“People didn’t discover the changes until the bus map was mailed to their homes or boarded the buses,” said Desiree Pilgrim-Hunter, the board president of the Fordham Hill Owner’s Association and a member of the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition.

Click here for the complete report.

I would love to see the figures the MTA used in saying this stop did not get much ridership. The Bx12 is one of the busiest routes in the entire borough. A quick drive by any of the route’s bus stops will show loads of people boarding & exiting a bus at a given time. I find it hard to believe this stop was any different from the others along the route. As far as the stops being too close together, give me a break. How many countless bus routes could be accused of having a similar setup. I’ve never ridden a bus route that at some point did not have stops as close together as these are.

While some may think the senior excuse is a tired one, it is quite valid in this case. Lets face it seniors mostly ride the buses to get from “Point A” to “Point B” especially in the outer boroughs. Why would the MTA think it would be wise to make it tougher for seniors to access their bus stop? The MTA should have discussed this publicly with the community before making such changes out of nowhere. This is nothing but another case of the MTA showing how they are out of touch with their ridership.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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