Paterson Backs Congestion Pricing

There may be hope after all!

Gov. David Paterson announced his support of Mayor Bloomberg’s congestion pricing plan for NYC.

“Congestion pricing addresses two urgent concerns of the residents of new York City and its suburbs: The Need to reduce congestion on our streets and roads, and thereby reduce pollution, and the need to raise significant revenue for mass transit improvement,” Paterson said.” [Daily News]

Of course, it eventually turned into a bit of a political stroke job when Bloomberg (and other pols in support of congestion pricing) started saying things like “…Paterson has shown true leadership ability…” etc.

“Congestion Pricing addresses two urgent concerns of the residents of New York City and its suburbs: the need to reduce congestion on our streets and roads, and thereby reduce pollution and global warming; and the need to raise significant revenue for mass transit improvements. We expect that revenue from the Congestion Pricing plan will support more than $4.5 billion in needed capital improvements for mass transit and meaningfully reduce traffic into the Central Business District of Manhattan. Before the constructive process of deliberation proceeds in both the City Council and the State Legislature, transparency requires that the public fully see what the system envisioned by the Commission will entail. While Commission Report highlighted other issues which need to be resolved, introducing this bill allows the City Council and Legislature to examine the details of the proposal and make an informed judgment on the Congestion Pricing program.” – David Paterson

So it seems positive thus far. As long as everyone keeps their eyes on the ball, perhaps this wild idea stands a chance. I must say, the more times they can say the words “$____ for transit improvements…” on the record, the better. Then there will be less room for them to wiggle out of it once the city gets the federal funding.

Holy Construction

Wow was there a lot of construction on the tracks this weekend!

Saturday, I thought I would run out to do some shopping.  I needed some new clothes and shoes, so I thought I’d head down to the Herald Square area to cruise the stores.

An hour later, I finally made it.  Normally, that trip would have been about 20 minutes or so.  Not this time.

I was excited because the train came almost right away.  Jumped on, and we pulled about 100 yards out of the station, and stopped.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Still waiting.

If that bitch on the intercom said “Please be patient” one more time…

So then we got to the next station.  Doors open and we wait.  Waiting.  Waiting.  Then we pull out, only this time we were moving about 10 feet a minute.

This was the entire trips worth.  It wasn’t even like I had the option to get off and transfer to a different train. Trust me, if that had been an option, I would have done it.

In all seriousness, I could have made it from the UWS Mid 80’s to 34th Street in half the time this train took.

The track gangs were everywhere.  One can only hope that they made  huge amount of progress in this one shot.  They were there overnight too.  That’s understandable, but you don’t see it in the middle of the day like that.

The Subway: Where Politics and MLK Day Converge


Uncivilsociety reminds us of a somewhat darker time in subway history.  This ad once ran on the subways in a pre-civil rights era.  It combines two themes in one ad that today would be considered unbelievably offensive.

First, the tongue-in-cheek way they use “women voting.”  As if it were an inevitability.  Then again, as we all know, women will only vote for Gold Dust detergent because that’s all women really know.  Right?

Second, we might be crazy enough to allow women to vote, but let’s face it, our black servants are the ones that will use the detergent in the first place.  As depicted in the ad, the lady of the house will buy the detergent, but the black house keepers will joyfully use it.

Very interesting to see how these ideas weren’t just in the back of people’s minds.  They were pro actively used in advertising!

Looming Snow Could be Subway’s First Test


Tonight/Tomorrow’s snow could be the subway system’s  first test of 2008.  Wet weather tends to cause massive cluster f*cks on most lines.

All it takes is a hold up ad ONE point on a line, and the entire line suffers.   So what do we hope to avoid?

Snow in general isn’t an issue most of the time.  It’s when it melts.  So the first thing we are looking to avoid is having a lot snow fall, and then melt all at once.  When it melts fast, it causes flooding because the system can’t handle all of the water at once.  So that can cause issues with signals shorting out, or  third rails being under water.

The other scenario of disaster is if the snow falls as a slushy mess and then freezes.  This can cause some slipping issues on the areas of track that are above ground.  Eventually, a very thin, very slick layer of ice forms on the rails.  Trains try to stop and slide.  Or the reverse happens.  Trains try to move and the wheels slip.

So I guess it is just wait an see.  Be careful, that first step can be a…

The Delays Aren’t Just our Imagination

Remember almost a year ago when we reviewed the Top 10 causes of subway delays? Well, it turns out those delays add up. There’s been a significant decrease in “on time” running on the system.

On-Time Performance By Line
(click for larger view)

The oldest lines appear to be the most unreliable (no shock there). If you notice, though, the reliability has declined year to year. For the 1 thru 6 lines, running at 80-90% on time is a bit embarrassing. Sure, this is just one month (July), but that doesn’t make the situation any better.

Subway: Weekday 24-Hour Terminal On-Time Performance
(click for larger view)

This is the overall performance of the system. What immediately jumps out at me is how poorly the system does in the summer. SUBWAYblogger has always said that it seems like the trains are always late in the summer, and now we have the data to back it up!Read More »

Don’t Bother Attending Fare Hike Hearings

Because MTA board members don’t even bother attending, and it’s their job.  Yes, three board members have managed to not attend a single fare hike hearing, yet they are eligible to vote on the issue when the time comes.


Andrew Saul, Donald Cecil and Susan Metzger are the board members who have not made it to a single hearing.  They also happen to be co-chairs of the “Show Up When We Damn Well Please Committee.”

Saul is vice-chairman and head of the finance committee!  Head of finance, yet can’t manage to attend hearings on the largest finance measure of the year.  He’s also a candidate in next fall’s Republican primary in the 19th Congressional District, so that explains the arrogance.

Some people are just complete nightmares.

[Photos: Daily News]

Lots of Controversy this Week on SUBWAYblogger

It was a fun week on SUBWAYblogger.  We managed to drum up a lot of drama and debate.  SUBWAYblogger will always be a completely open forum for people to say whatever they want about anything posted here.  Even stuff we think is the biggest bullsh*t ever will not be censored.

Here’s this week’s highlight discussions:

Subway Surfer
72nd Street Jumper
New Fare Options
Columbus Day is Stupid
Idiot of the Day

And the MTA Said, “Let the subway have doors.”


This just in, the 7 line extension will have platform doors!

NY1 has learned exclusively (wtf?  Is it a secret?) that the 7 line extension will have doors on it’s subway platforms.

What the hell those?  Platform doors are sliding glass doors at the edge of the subway platforms.  They create a floor to ceiling barrier between the platform and the open tracks.

What for?  They not only provide a safe barrier from people ending up on the tracks, but they also save cooling energy.  By keeping the platforms sealed off from the tunnels when trains are not in the station, hot air cannot fill up the platforms.  Therefore, the stations are kept cooler, and energy is saved.  See what they could look like HERE.

The platform doors are estimated to cost $2 million per station.  However, the cost is made up in energy savings.

Perhaps the 7 line extension will clear the way for doors on the 2nd Avenue line to have the doors as well.

Woah woah woah…slow that fare hike down

Everywhere you turn in the transit world, people are talking about a looming fare hike.  However, as New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said a few days ago, we need to stop and take a look around.  It might just turn out that “Congestion Pricing” could provide the extra funds we need to avoid a fare hike.

Granted, I don’t know how much I believe that, but it sure would be nice.

It’s my understanding that a portion of the revenue generated, and the federal funds are supposed to go towards improving the transit system.  So the money should not go towards keeping fares down, but instead should go towards improving service.

Maybe a sharp increase in ridership would generate enough revenue to offset the need for another fare hike?  Who knows.

In general, I wouldn’t necessarily mind paying a higher fare if it meant better service.  That includes better trains, more trains, and less unforeseen delays, etc.

There’s another problem that I don’t think gets enough attention.  The MTA receives funds from way too many sources.  It must make the finances in that agency a nightmare.  The MTA gets money not only from fares, but also property sales tax, regular sales tax, and a handful of other areas.

Just the other day, Mayor Bloomberg announced the slashing of sales taxes on clothing items over $110.   Until just recently, shoppers paid about 4% tax to the state, and 4% tax to the city on clothing over $110.  Bloomberg has dropped the city’s portion of that tax, basically cutting the total in half.

However, I’ve heard that the MTA gets something like 0.375% of that revenue.  I guess the question is whether the MTA’s cut comes out of the city’s half or the state’s.  In any event, that’s a prime example of what makes the MTA’s finances so complicated.

There are so many factors that can throw the system’s finances into chaos from year to year.  The whole thing needs to be simplified if we ever plan on getting a grip on the future of city transit.