Got an interesting email tonight from a SUBWAYblogger reader. Apparently this guy has the whole “free subway” thing figured out.
Keep in mind, SUBWAYblogger has no idea if any of this guy’s facts are correct. Also, we don’t necessarily share all his views. But hey, we thought it seemed interesting, so we thought we’d publish it.
My name is CXB and I’ve been pitching the no-brainer economics of FREE SUBWAYS for 15 years now. (Okay, I haven’t been dedicating very much time. Sorry.) Many of my “radical” ideas later came true, and this one will too if more people start discussing it and demanding it of the City Council and Bloomberg and Spitzer. (Giuliani proved me right when he made the Staten Island Ferry free.)
The irony is that I don’t ride the filthy, unpredictable trains. (I’m a cyclist.)
The other day, Lord Bloomberg even said FREE MASS TRANSIT would be the smartest thing, but he doesn’t have the guts/energy to do it.
But it’s a flawless plan. Perhaps you could spread the word, and you don’t even have to give me credit! Here’s a short examination / explanation:
Impossible dream or intelligent fiscal innovation?
You be the judge!
“How are you going to pay for free subways?” is a silly question, obviously.
(It’s up there with, “but what will you do when you sail off the edge of the earth, Mr. Columbus?”)
MAKING THE SUBWAYS FREE WILL NOT COST US A PENNY.
MAKING THEM FREE WILL INSTEAD EARN US OVER $300,000,000 A YEAR.
THE MTA IS REPLACING AN ASTRONOMICALLY EXPENSIVE SYSTEM OF FARE-COLLECTION (tokens, token clerks, token booths, token-taking turnstiles, etc.) WITH AN ASTRONOMICALLY EXPENSIVE SYSTEM OF FARE COLLECTION (metrocards, metrocard machines, metrocard-taking turnstiles, maintenance workers to fix / stock metrocard machines, people to sweep up the used metrocards, etc, etc,)!
THERE ARE ONLY 2 WAYS TO FINANCE NYC’S SUBWAY SYSTEM:
Out of the pockets of citizens (daily) or
Out of the pockets of citizens (annually)
The subway fare does NOT PAY FOR THE SUBWAY – ITS MOSTLY PAID FOR VIA ANNUAL TAX REVENUES. (The fare revenue covers less than 30% of operating costs. It’s mostly subsidized with tax dollars.)
THE MTA SPENDS OVER $300,000,000 a year (!!!) TO COLLECT A FARE DAILY.
If we eliminate the fare altogether, we save 100% of that annual $300 million which they inefficiently waste collecting the fare. Comprende?
THE STATEN ISLAND FERRY USED TO BE 50 CENTS AND NOW IT’S FREE.
(Which proves there’s a 100% chance we can implement my completely reasonable plan b/c it’s not a pipe dream.)
We pay for 100% of NYC’s sidewalks & streets out of annual tax revenues.
Imagine if they decided to put toll booths on every avenue & street in Manhattan, to raise $ to pay for the roads! You’d say that’s totally insane and you’d be right. So why don’t you recognize the toll booth system underground is just as inefficient & insane? WASTE is WRONG (and government waste will be ILLEGAL when I’m mayor).
It is MORE INTELLIGENT & EFFICIENT TO SOCIALIZE (ie, like single payer health care) most government services.
THE POLICE DEPARTMENT & THE FIRE DEPARTMENT PROVE EVERYDAY THAT SOCIALIZED SERVICES ARE MOST EFFICIENT. (Imagine if the NYPD started billing you once a month (or once a day like the MTA!!) for their services! They’d have to spend a hundred million extra dollars a year to set up a billing service & mail you a bill (like Con Ed & the phone companies do) wasting billions of dollars in tax money, manpower, and so on.
It would be absolutely MORONIC to bill millions of people each month (or each day as the MTA does) for the U.S. Military’s work protecting us!! (Note: the U.S. Military is a govt-run, MONOPOLY and everyone loves it that way—nobody wants to open it up to the “free market” b/c the free market is a lie and even Republicans know this, which is why they refuse to open PUBLIC SAFETY to it.)
Ohhh…..there’s waaaaaaaaaaaay more after the jump
Conservatives & liberals are unanimous in their support for socialized police, FDNY & military alike, so not one human can argue that free subways wouldn’t be more efficient. (Imagine opening up the fire department to the “free market”! “Hello? Jim’s Firefighting, Inc? My house is on fire!! How quickly can you get here and what do you charge??”) (Capitalism is the most retarded economic/social structure in history!) (No wonder all the right wingers who claim to love “competition” can’t stop hailing the socialism of our military, police and fire departments.)
Socialism not only works, it works much better than anything else.
Even more telling, Public Safety is a lot more important than what brand VCR you buy, and so the right wing refuse to let Public Safety be open to the “free market” proving they believe socialism is superior for the MOST IMPORTANT MATTERS IN SOCIETY!) (I put “free market” in quotes because it’s the fakest scam & fraud ever seen. But don’t get me started.)
SHALL I GO ON?
MAKING THE SUBWAYS FREE WILL ALSO SAVE US BILLION$ IN LOST MANPOWER.
Everyone agrees: TIME = MONEY, and how much time has been spent / wasted over the last 100 years of subway riders waiting in token booth lines, or re-swiping Metrocards, or getting exact change for the bus? (FACT: The MTA owes you billions of dollars in lost time just for this.) And how much time will be wasted over the NEXT 100 years?
Ever missed your train because of a slow token clerk, or because you had to use a Metrocard machine that can’t take bills? I have—on hundreds of occasions. (It’s one reason I ride a bike every day now.)
MAKING THE SUBWAYS FREE REDUCES POLLUTION AND TRAFFIC JAMS.
(EX: How much quicker will a bus ride across town be when people can just climb aboard without wasting a second on paying the fare or swiping their cards?? The fact that they made people have exact change for buses was madness!)
MAKING THE SUBWAYS FREE ELIMINATES 100% OF THE LITTER CREATED BY PATAKI & RUDY DINKINS-BLOOMBERG.
(ZERO % of tokens ended up as garbage, & 100% of Metrocards end up as garbage!) (You think they’re recycled?) (Even if they were, that’s hundreds of million$ more that’ll have to be spent, because disposal / recycling ain’t free!)
Let me repeat that one: the TOKEN gave us zero waste and litter and the Metrocards gave us 100% waste and litter!
I think waste and litter is wrong. Bloomberg thinks it’s great.
[NOTE: The US Treasury is trying to switch us all to those ‘gold’ dollars for a smart reason: they last 100 years longer than dollar bills do, which last less than 5 years, usually. Governor Pataki did the exact OPPOSITE: replaced durable tokens with disposable plastic rectangles & someone got rich off this scam.) (When I become mayor, I’m going to take the 10 million dollars we spend each year on these stupid plastic rectangles and plant trees with the money instead.]
THE POINT OF THE METROCARD WAS TO LOWER THE OPERATING COSTS OF THE SUBWAY. (AUTOMATING the system allowed them to lay off lots of costly labor.)
So….did the subway fare GO DOWN as it should’ve? Nope. Instead, it did the exact opposite: They gave you the biggest fare hike EVER. (From $1.25 to a $1.50.) Then, just a few years later, they gave you an even bigger fare hike – 33%! – the biggest ever. It’s a racket and as mayor, I will expose the billions of dollars they wasted and where those dollars went.
THE MTA IS THE MOST CORRUPT GOVERNMENT AGENCY TODAY, and I’m not even going to discuss the millions of other crimes they commit. (That would require another 5 pages.) (You didn’t really believe that it takes 11 months to install an escalator—did you?) (You don’t really believe you have to “go Backwards to go forwards”, do you?)
And only one candidate – me – has a comprehensive plan to fix this. (Mike Bloomberg, Freddy Ferrer, and the rest of these airheads don’t care and are too thoughtless to even think about it.)
THE MTA OWES YOU BILLIONS ON THEIR SCAMS AND WE MUST STOP THEM IMMEDIATELY, as their current plans intend billions more wasted in the coming years.
(EX: If the media or politicians had listened to me in 1992, they would’ve saved over a billion dollars they spent, a) Minting all new tokens (!); b) Installing brand new turnstiles (everyone forgets that the current turnstiles being phased out were only bought /installed five years ago!!); c) Removing all the new turnstiles we bought; d) Installing those new automated deathtrap vertical turnstiles that you can’t get a babystroller or bike through!
THE MTA OWES YOU BILLIONS OF DOLLARS, and I’m the only candidate who promises (guaranteed in writing) to shut this shadowy organization down. (I’m also going to try and get billions of your lost money back.) (If YOU have to go backwards to go forwards, then so too should the scumbag heads of the MTA who all get chauffeured cars to drive them home from work! But that’s also covered in my FAIRNESS LAW.)
You were robbed hard and if I have to, I’ll arrest and/or sue the hell out of these crooks for wasting /stealing YOUR money.
I could go on & on but please don’t make me. (And I’ll debate the naysayers any time any place, because I have a lot more details than listed here. Also, the people who think this will make the subways more crowded and unbearable are wrong. EX: People who drive cars or take cabs will not suddenly switch to subways because they’re free. They aren’t interested in saving money. They don’t like the subways.)
HELP ME STOP THE MTA & The Republicans (who cut MTA subsidies –which caused the fare to be raised – so they could shift billions to corporate welfare for their rich pals like George Steinbrenner.)
Got it? They hiked “taxes” on the working class (most rich people and politicians don’t ride the subways) & then lowered taxes for the rich (via corporate welfare).
And then a million New Yorkers will have an extra $1,000 a year to spend, which will improve our economy! Compare this to Bloomberg’s INANE plans.
PLEASE PASS THIS ON TO YOUR FRIENDS, because the media is a lapdog for corrupt government. (Look for yourself: most articles about the 2005 race for mayor only discuss how big their bank accounts are & how much party machine support they have.)
The media won’t talk about ISSUES, IDEAS, SOLUTIONS, or problems. Their job is to manipulate elections by telling you who is the richest and who has been a politician the longest. They won’t talk issues because then the “main” candidates will look like empty suits and their bosses insist on sucking up to those in power. (Instead of those with brains.)
WE CAN MAKE THE SUBWAYS FREE TOMORROW but I can’t do it alone. Please help me stop our corrupt government and our corrupt media because making the subways free is a lot more important a priority (and can be done in minutes!) than a second avenue subway or other nonsense the government is planning poorly.
We’ve tried it Bloomberg’s way for 4 years and it failed miserably. It’s time for a change.
Sincerely, Christopher X. Brodeur
IF YOU’RE AS SICK OF THIS GOVERNMENT AS WE ARE
CXB FOR MAYOR
AND FOR MORE OF CXB’S 100 INNOVATIONS FOR NYC, VISIT
7 thoughts on “Free Subways? This guy has thought it out!”
This guy’s not very bright. 5 million people ride the subway a day (not to mention pay bus fares), which means an income of almost $10 million dollars, minus 300k (if that figure is correct) = $9,700,000 in money earned daily from the subway alone. Even that fare revenue is barely enough to operate the subway not to mention perform maintenance on it. Plus figure in the fact that corruption isn’t going to end just because the subways are free, in fact the opposite might happen–if the agency is entirely government-subsidized, then there is little motivation for the customers to care what they do, since they don’t pay an immediately-obvious dime (taxes, obviously). Plus the MTA would have no motivation to keep customers happy at all, since the number of passengers doesn’t affect their revenue streams at all. There is the additional problem of making subways free, and that is a far worsened homeless problem and even perhaps crime rate on the subway.
Whoops, read that figure wrong. Ok, so $10 million x 365 = $3.6 billion – $300 million a year = $3.3 billion in farebox revenues. I’m sure these figures aren’t exact but it seems to me as if the cost of collecting fares is far less than the fares themselves.
This is what Theodore Kheel has been saying for a while, except Kheel seems to be a little calmer about the whole thing.
I might be wrong about this, but might the required fare be keeping people from riding the subway? If it was free (and this is based only on my opinion, not facts) don’t you think more people would ride? Is the system capable of handling the massive increase in traffic?
It seems like all discussion has focused on either raising or eliminating fares. Seeing as The MTA is way in debt, shouldn’t the focus first be on running a better buisness?
They’ll never make the subway free. I think Mayor Nanny Bloomie is a very arrogant man. I also highly doubt he rides the subway that much. He’s the mayor, I want someone driving him around so he can work and make calls and stuff. New Yorkers shouldn’t want him wasting all that time on the subway.
We all have to wonder what Bloomberg is really thinking of with this congestion pricing tax scheme. Maybe he mostly just wants a new tax. Just wrap it up in ‘concern for the environment’, and then people can just demonize those who oppose it.
If he cares so much about traffic jams, congestion and air pollution, why does he let Park Avenue be blocked off? Why doesn’t he do anything about that?
It’s true, Pershing Square Restaurant blocks Park Avenue going South at 42nd St. for about 12 hours a day/5 months of the year! This Causes Massive Congestion and Air Pollution!
But apparently it does not bother NYC’s Nanny-in-Chief Mike “Congestion Pricing Tax” Bloomberg?
It certainly supports his claim that the city is hugely congested.
Check out the map!
Check it out!
Little Blue PD
Actually, Little Blue, you really dont know what you’re talking about.
He does ride the subway to work virtually every day…depending on what he’s doing. If it’s a typical day at City Hall, he’s on the train.
And I DO want him on the subway because as a billionaire, it could be hard to stay in touch with the lives of every day New Yorkers. The more he can live the life of a typical New Yorker, the better. I’d like him to see what the conditions are really like on the trains.
The congestion pricing idea is a fantastic idea, that has very little impact on the people that actually live/pay taxes here. Most New Yorkers don’t use their cars to get around the city. They use them for travel outside the city.
Also, there’s no financial need for another tax in the city if you consider the surplus. So youre theory about him just wanting another tax is BS, because there’s no need for one.
On Wednesday in the Paris Metro, a group calling itself the “Réseau pour l’abolition des transports payants” (which has the same abbreviation as the transit authority) took over a station, taped the gates open, handed out manifestoes and gave everyone free rides with fake tickets that said things like “Freedom of movement.”
Blog post in French: