Category Archives: NYC

MTA “Doomsday” Budget Passed

But, it looks like help will be coming from Albany, after all. However, it doesn’t sound like a permanent solution, so we’ll be facing these same issues again in what – another year, two years, five years?

Base fare for NYC’s subways and buses will be $2.50 effective May 31. Express bus fares will rise, also. Other MTA operations – Long Island Bus, Long Island Railroad and Metro North Railroad are expecting fare hikes between 21-28%. All service will be modified in an effort to save money – some bus lines will be cut entirely, as well as subway lines.

Fuzzy MTA Math
Creative Commons License photo credit: Alain-Christian

St. Louis is facing the same problems as the MTA. Unfortunately, the stimulus funds cannot be used for operating existing service, which is pretty idiotic, if you ask me. The major problems with public transit in many places is its hours of operation and frequency of service.

Riders do not want to wait long for a bus or train to come along, especially when it is very hot or very cold. Bus shelters may protect riders from some of the elements, but imagine if there are more riders waiting than the shelter can accommodate and it is raining cats and dogs.

So what is the solution? Planners and community members need to work together to develop solutions to the funding crisis that do not include raising fares again and again,but create reasonable schemes to generate funds through retail, real estate and advertising. Additional savings can be found in streamlining the workforce. While I hate to see anyone lose their job, some personnel cuts will encourage less spending and more efficient operations.

Your thoughts?

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Why is there a push to restore train service NOW?

Many, many years ago… in the United States, there were literally dozens of train lines dotting the landscape of American cities. Most of those train lines are now gone, and depending on who you ask, car companies like GM are responsible for the disappearance of local public transit or cars are just a much better way to get around.

Whatever the reason is, many most US cities lack a comprehensive public transit system. Even major cities lack a full, comprehensive system like their European (and increasingly, Asian) counterparts have. Citizens’ livelihoods are tied to the car much like human life is tied to air and water.

There are pushes to restore train service now. One does not have to look further than NJTransit’s website for details on fantastic plans to restore service from the Pocono Mountains in Pennsylvania through the Lackawanna cutoff to Hoboken, where riders could connect to PATH or ferry service into Manhattan, (or to New York Penn Station) eliminating the need for the up to 4 hour bus trips one-way to/from the Poconos for commuters and tourists alike. Or, the proposal to use existing and new rail infrastructure to create a new heavy rail line through Middlesex, Ocean and Monmouth counties, connecting commuters with New York Penn Station via the Northeast Corridor or the North Jersey Coast Line. Or, restoring the train line torn up to build – what else? – condos!

People in the northeast are generally more open to transit than other places in the country, but even Phoenix is getting in on the demand for transit. Albeit, they only have one line in an area that is extremely low density, but it does have connecting bus service.

The push to restore train service (or build new service) seems to be correlated to gas prices. Last summer, we all remember gas prices approaching and surpassing $4/gallon in the United States. It seemed like everyone began using transit to save money. Prices went down, but ridership is still up in some areas. My guess is that riders realized transit is not that bad. I mean after all, being car free does rock, but what will happen when (if?) the prices go back down and stay down? Will the novelty wear off?

I really can’t think of any other reason to spur the interest in restoring train service now, so if you have some ideas, let’s hear it in the comments.

How would the MTA’s proposed service cuts affect you?

I am not living in NYC at the moment, but I am looking to move back as soon as the ink dries on my diploma. (No offense, Jersey, but I just don’t love you like I love NYC!)

NYC Subway Train
Creative Commons License photo credit: brokentrinkets

The proposed service cuts by the MTA (Metropolitan Transit Authority) will affect daily commuters who come from CT and NJ (and PA!) and must use the subway to connect to their offices from major transport hubs, as well as tourists who come into the city to sightsee and shop.

Check out the NYC Comptroller’s MTA Cuts Web Application – How will cuts affect your neighborhood?

If the economy improves and/or there’s a billion or three dollars magically found by the MTA, we’ll then have to face the effects of a lack of maintenance, job cuts and service cuts. Can we eliminate entire subway lines and bus routes today, then turn around two or five years later and expect them to work just like they did before we hit the switch?

23rd St. Subway
Creative Commons License photo credit: senorjerome

I really don’t think so. We have to work toward finding a solution to the current financial crisis. It is unfair and unreasonable to ask citizens to give up convenience and safety (even if it is perceived safety) because of blatant, continued mismanagement of funds. If anything, citizens need to demand changes within the MTA. Will new management help? Dedicated funding? Insistence of more/better oversight by the government or citizen groups? Change has got to happen. Whether that change is higher fares or tolls on the East River, the MTA has got to keep the current service levels – and possibly extend them to pick up additional transit riders, thus generating more revenue that can be used to finance operations.

Additionally, we have to solve this conflict about how the MTA is funded versus what reality looks like – dedicated annual funding is important, as well as the flexibility to use funds for operations and capital improvements as the agency sees fit. The MTA must also look into how to fund new and expanded subway and train lines (Can I get a subway directly from the Bronx to Queens to Brooklyn? Or the full 2nd Avenue Subway?). Rail transit has more influence on how to impact future growth – because it is permenant and dedicated right of ways ensure speed and quality of service. So let’s get on with it, keep the existing service and finance expanded service for a better New York.

Make your voice heard for or against $3 Subway and Bus Fares in NYC

The New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority (NYC MTA) will be having hearings in early 2009 on proposed fare hikes and toll increases, the services provided to citizens and tourists, and even suggested station closings in the City.

All hearings listed below begin at 6 p.m. Read more on the MTA’s proposal and go and make your voice heard (for or against)!

Wed Jan 14, 2009
Hilton NY, Trianon Ballroom
1335 Ave of the Americas, Manhattan
Directions: E V to 5 Av/53 St, B D F V
to 47 – 50th Sts/ Rockefeller Ctr.; M5, 6, 7

Tues Jan 20, 2009
Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel
Phoenix Ballroom, 135-20 39th Ave, Flushing, Queens
Directions: 7 to Flushing-Main St;
Q12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 19, 20A, 20B, 25, 26, 27, 28,
34, 44, 48, 58, 65 , 66, QBx1, N20 or 21;
LIRR to Flushing-Main St.

Wed Jan 21, 2009
The Garden City Hotel, The Grand Ballroom
45 Seventh St, Garden City
Directions: LIRR to Garden City; LIRR to Mineola,
then N40/41 (SB); LIRR to Freeport, then N40/41 (NB)

Mon Jan 26, 2009
College of Staten Island
CSI Center for the Arts, Springer Concert Hall
2800 Victory Blvd, Staten Island
Directions: X10 and 11; S62, 92, 53 (transfer to S62
or 92 at Victory Blvd and Clove Rd), or S93.
Shuttle Bus will be provided between College of
Staten Island bus stop and Springer Concert Hall

Wed Jan 28, 2009
Westchester County Center
Rooms A – C, 198 Central Ave, White Plains
Directions: MNR to White Plains,
then any of these Bee-Line buses: 1W, 5, 6, 13, 14,
15, 20, 40


Wed Jan 28, 2009

NY Marriott at the Bklyn Bridge
333 Adams St, Brooklyn
Directions:A C F to Jay St-Borough Hall, M R to
Lawrence St, or 2 3 4 5 to Borough Hall;
B25, 26, 37, 38, 41, 45, 51, 52, 54, 57, 61, 65, 67,
75 or 103

Mon Feb 2, 2009
Palisades Center, Raso Community Room
1000 Palisades Center Drive, West Nyack
Directions: MNR to Tarrytown, then Tappan ZEExpress
Bus to Palisades Center; Community Center is next to
ice rink.

Wed Feb 4, 2009
Lehman College, CUNY, Lovinger Theatre
250 Bedford Park Blvd West, Bronx
Directions: 4to Bedford Park Blvd – Lehman College
or B D to Bedford Park Blvd; Bx2, 10, 22 ,28;
BxM4A, 4B

Taking a ride on New York City Transit’s “Nostalgia Train”

Of course, no transit geek in the tri-state area could possibly show his or her face after the New Year if they didn’t take a ride on the New York City Transit’s “Nostalgia Train” which is running on every Sunday in December.

(Photograph by animalvegetable on Flickr)

From the MTA website:

You can catch a ride on this classic subway car at stations along the V train icon line between Queens Plaza and 2 Av.

Departure times:

  • From Lower East Side 2 Av station on the V line at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.
  • From Queens Plaza station at 10:45 a.m., 12:15 p.m., 1:45 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 4:45pm.

Station Stops:

Queens Plaza
23 St-Ely Av
Lexington Av/53 St
5 Av/53 St
47-50 Sts Rockefeller Center
42 St Bryant Park
34 St Herald Sq
23 St (6 Av)
14 St (6 Av)
W 4 St Wash Sq
B’way-Lafayette St
Lower East Side 2 Av

I’m going on December 21! If anyone wants to ride and have a Car Free meetup, let me know in the comments, or send me an email to !