Service of I Love New York… But Don’t Push It

December 6th, 2018

Categories: Attendance, City Living, Subway, Taxi, Transportation

I was born and grew up in NYC and consider it a beloved relative that makes me glow with pride sometimes and bristle other times. On my walk to work my eye caught a menorah installed right next to a Christmas wreath [photo above] illustrating the comfortable diversity I admire. I turned around to see a homeless person huddled in the cold on a nearby bench, [photo right, below], striking my heart, but in the opposite way.

The New Year will bring with it two ham-fisted decisions that impact transportation and will punch the Big Apple in the gut. Worse: Nobody seems to be directing the big picture.

Congestion Pricing Will Give Yellow Taxis the Flu

The January 1, 2019 $2.50 congestion pricing fee will help destroy the already limping yellow cab industry and hurt citizens of modest or microscopic means who rely on traditional cabs. Many can’t manage busses or subways, can’t afford limos or don’t have smartphones to hire car services like Uber or Lyft. The fee impacts “any yellow cab, e-hail or other for-hire vehicle trips that start, pass through or end in a designated ‘congestion zone’ below 96th Street in Manhattan,” Vincent Barone wrote in amny.com.

Photo: ny.curbed.com

What’s the destination of the some $400 million the tax man anticipates collecting? According to Barone, it will help the Metropolitan Transit Authority [MTA]  which is “financially strapped.”

Services like Lyft and Uber are charged a $2.75 fee but because they can fiddle with their basic price which yellow taxis can’t, they could make rides cheaper than traditional cabs—another stab to the financial heart of their competitor.

Photo: canacopegdi.com

Barone reported: “‘The fact that it will cost $5.80 to step into a taxi cab now is going to be devastating for the taxi industry,’ TLC Commissioner Meera Joshi said after a City Council oversight hearing on the surcharges, referencing the existing fees on taxi trips. ‘The other sectors … have more flexibility. They have to add $2.75 on but they’re not bound to a metered fare, so they can reduce the price of the trip so that the passenger doesn’t feel the effect of the $2.75.’”

Pay More Get Less on Trains & Busses

nypost.com

And what about the Metropolitan Transit Authority [MTA] that, in addition to benefiting from the congestion pricing taxi fee is fighting to get a 4 percent increase in subway and bus fares next year? Here are highlights of its cost-cutting proposal, according to 710 WOR radio new: “Among the plans is to change the temperature on subway trains, providing riders with less heat in the winter and less air conditioner in the summer. The proposal would also result in fewer trains and buses on some lines that could lead to overcrowding.  Trains would also be cleaned less frequently.” Good plan: Charge more, give less.

What and/or who is to blame for the MTA’s financial woes? Fare beaters according to Andy Byford the president of NYC Transit.

Who’s Running the Place?

Bill de Blasio. Photo: en.wikipedia.org

William Neuman in a New York Times article may have hit on a reason for the shambles hitting transportation and, I suspect, other sectors in the city. He reported that New York Mayor de Blasio “rarely meets with many of his commissioners, according to the schedules, at times making it difficult for department heads to advance new ideas at City Hall, or to inform the mayor about problems at their agencies.”

Worse, his City Hall attendance record shocked me. Neuman reported that he averaged 19 days a month in the office in 2014; 17 days a month the next year falling to 14 in 2016 and last year, 9—only 5 in July! It’s up to 10 on average this year. Further, wrote Neuman, he “was at City Hall just four of the first 39 Fridays this year, according to the schedules.” [Remember when Mayor Bloomberg was creamed for being out of town once, for a major snowstorm?]

Will congestion pricing to hit cabs positively impact the city’s severe traffic challenges? Is the potential increase in public transit fares along with a decrease in comfort for riders badly timed? Do these moves tell citizens “If you can’t afford the city and can’t handle a nasty subway ride, get out” even louder than ever before? Would strong leadership avert or lessen the transportation tangle? Do you live in a town or city that works seamlessly?

Photo: Newberg.k12.or.us

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4 Responses to “Service of I Love New York… But Don’t Push It”

  1. Lucrezia Said:

    It’s amazing that NYC has so great a population, since it’s unaffordable unless one is comfortable living in a broom closet for eye popping monthly rent. A well to do friend moved away upon learning that “affordable” rent in the city came to $2,500 monthly — and that was several years ago.

    There are a number of other problems, all of which have been inherited by a mayor who is undoubtedly overwhelmed by their magnitude. Criticizing the situation doesn’t help. Shutting up and joining and/or organizing a community group whose aim is to successfully attack prevailing woes, will.

  2. Protius Said:

    Even though several of my forbearers were early Dutch settlers and my mother was born in New York, even though I myself have lived here for almost seventy years, I never have considered myself to be a true New Yorker. Looking at the way the city’s population mix changes seemingly as each generation passes with waves of unbelievably diverse immigrants first settling and then moving on to elsewhere further west perhaps I should. For sure, most people I know here have far fewer ties to the city than I do. I think it is likely that should you take a census, you would find just a handful of our current residents are true New Yorkers.

    Truth be told, though, the city, itself, and the baffling mess it is, is even more unlikely unexplainable. I’ve been trying unsuccessfully to understand the place and how and why it survives ever since I came here.

    Actually, I think the answer may be one I never expected: the people who live here.

    As I age, I have become increasing frail, feeble and vulnerable. More and more when I venture out in public, I’m likely to trip, or to drop things like wallets and money, or to have problems getting out of taxicabs. More and more people stop unasked to try to help me. Why I just don’t know. What they are doing seems spontaneous and related to any common thread of behavior. As well, they are of all ages, black or white, male or female, of no apparent ethnicity or culture. Possibly people like them really do make up for all the corrupt lawyers, judges and unions, the real estate tycoons like Trump and our idiot of a mayor. The irony, of course, is that most of these good Sumerians are probably not really New Yorkers.

  3. Protius Said:

    Lucrezia,

    I’ve been in overwhelming situations myself but I don’t take control by NOT showing up at the office; NOT working with those hired to coordinate their work with mine etc. I have no sympathy with this mayor if he’s not getting his job done. One of his jobs is as cheerleader to his staff. Can’t motivate by not being there.

    Further, I didn’t write the post to complain but to shine a light on the situation. I recently took a yellow taxi and the driver thanked me for taking one. They are in a terrible spot. Why should their riders have to pay for subway and bus riders? And so much all at once?

    I know plenty in rent controlled apartments who have plenty of space and don’t pay much. That should only happen to me! I value the premium it costs to live in the city because it is what I’m used to. I’ve lived in tiny apartments and giant ones. Somehow, so far, I’ve made it work and have been happy in each.

  4. Protius Said:

    Protius,

    New Yorkers are often quirky, funny, nutty, and certainly diverse. I love the energy. They are tough. I am so glad many help you. In small towns that would happen as well I wager.

    The terrific thing about the city is that you CAN venture out even though you are “feeble and frail.” Cities are good about that. You don’t need to drive–you can walk across the street in many neighborhoods and grab a sandwich or order in any number of prepared taste sensations.

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