Jul
21

How the service cuts doubled the fare

By · Published in 2010

Reduced service on the Bx20 have left many Bronx residents paying two fares for their commutes.

As most straphangers come to terms with longer wait times and fewer seats on our post-service cut commutes, a few commuters who live in the harder-to-reach areas of New York City are finding life particularly tough in the post-cut environment. These are the people who once enjoyed bus service to the nearest subway but now must take a subway and a bus or two buses to reach a route that gets them to work. These are the people who have sufferd through service cuts only to be greeted with a de facto fare hike.

For the vast majority of those who are dependent upon the MTA, the fare hikes have resulted in less pleasant rides. As NY1 details today, the MTA’s new load guidelines have meant fewer, more crowded trains, and riders accustomed to a sit are finding themselves out of luck. “Forget about that,” Olmon Hairston said. “What seat? You have to be very strategic and find maybe the very back of the train or the very front of the train and position yourself in such a way so you can jockey for position.”

Those bemoaning about seats are the lucky ones. For many in the outer boroughs, the cost of travel just went up. Some riders have to pay two fares to cover the same distance. Clyde Haberman, with an assist from frequent SAS commenter Allan Rosen, explains the dual fare:

Allan Rosen, who worked for the authority for many years, called my attention to a little-discussed aspect of changes that led to the closing or altering of dozens of bus routes. Some New Yorkers may now be forced to pay double to get from Point A to Point B. They have in effect been placed in two-fare zones.

Until recently, for example, people traveling in Brooklyn from Bushwick to Crown Heights might have taken the B52 bus along Gates Avenue and transferred at Franklin Avenue to the B48, heading south toward Empire Boulevard. But the southbound B48 no longer goes that far. To get where they want, riders who transfer from the B52 to the B48 must switch again at Fulton Street to the B49, running on Bedford Avenue.

That means three buses. For those with per-ride MetroCards, that second transfer costs them an extra $2.25. Similar situations exist on other routes. Are vast numbers of riders affected? Probably not. “But the point isn’t how many people,” Mr. Rosen said. “It’s the fact that it’s unfair and no one should have to suffer like this.”

To a lesser extent, the same problem exists in Riverdale. Bronx residents no longer enjoy the Bx20 and now must either transfer to the Bx7 and pay again to board the A in Manhattan or take the bus to the 1 train to the A train, a rather lengthy trip from Riverdale.

Although few have solutions for this two-fare problem, watchdogs and other transit advocates are not happy with this turn of events. “It’s bad enough somebody has to transfer two times to get where they need to go. They shouldn’t have to pay two fares,” William Henderson, executive director of the MTA Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA, said to New York 1.

For now, some of those riders can switch to unlimited ride MetroCards, but even that, based upon recent rumors, is a temporary solution. When the MTA implements a 90-ride cap on the cards early next year, the two-fare ride, a remnant of the pre-MetroCard days, will again become a reality. It is, as Haberman said, transit death by a thousand cuts.



Categories : Service Cuts

71 Responses to “How the service cuts doubled the fare”

  1. John Paul N. says:

    This is another (perhaps unintended) consequence of the proposed unlimited caps. If you are a regular commuter, you probably have an unlimited card; thus, even if your one-seat trip became a two-seat trip, you would not have had any financial consequences due to the service change. Now, you do have every reason to be concerned if you need to transfer to another transit vehicle from the two-seat trip.

    I say unintended because I don’t know how long ago the MTA was thinking of the cap in unlimited rides; was it during the service cut deliberations or after.

    • Marc Shepherd says:

      Unfortunately, nothing will change until we stop blaming the MTA, and start blaming the people who really created this problem, the state legislature.

      • BrooklynBus says:

        The state legislature is partially responsible but the MTA is not entirely blameless. Service cuts have always been a priority with them even when there was a surplus. They were never willing to invest any new money to update the bus routing system unless there was a zero net increase in operating costs. This bias against buses was never true with the subways. People managed with only two Manhattan Bridge tracks for like 15 years and it cost millions to restore 4 track service, yet the MTA did not balk at that. But ask for $50,000 for a bus line improvement and they can’t afford it. Ben has spoken several times about this bias against buses.

        • Marc Shepherd says:

          Compare the number of people a subway can transport per hour to a bus, and you can see why subways get proportionately more investment.

          But even if it’s true that the MTA has an anti-bus bias, don’t forget who created the MTA: the legislature. It exists only by the legislature’s grace. The legislature can force the MTA to do practically anything—or, what is more often the case, it can sit back and do nothing, or actually take actions that harm the MTA.

          It is always, at root, the legislature’s problem, because the legislature created the darned thing in the first place.

          • BrooklynBus says:

            We’re not talking about proportionately more investment. The MTA has no right to insist that they will not invest one dollar to make bus routing improvements when they don’t insist the same for subways. (I’m not speaking of capital purchases for new vehicles.)

            It’s easy to blame the legislature but the anti-bus bias problem predates the MTA. The New York City Transit Authority was just as guilty of this bias. It is not realistic to expect the legislature to get involved in the MTA’s day to day activities. The MTA has to be responsible for its own actions.

  2. John Paul N. says:

    I know it’s a question that’s repeated ad nauseam, but when is the point where we can move past the psychology of an unlimited fare card that costs over $100? Isn’t it time to move on and say, an unlimited-ride fare card could be worth more than $100 because the operating expenses of the subway and bus systems justify it (and because the city and state aren’t giving their fair share)? And enough of the large fare hikes; if revenue and expenses need to take inflation into account, why not just do it every year or two? And what’s with the obsession of quarter-cent base fare raises?

  3. John Paul N. says:

    The NY1 article mentions the comparison of passenger loads now to in September. Has the MTA ever considered to schedule less bus/subway service in the summer months than in the other months, other than the special school trips? Or does it do that already and I am feeling that there is still overcapacity in the summer?

    • Andrew says:

      Bus service is reduced in the summer.

      I don’t think subway service is, although it used to be. I’m not sure why. Perhaps the cost of a third pick is greater than the amount that would be saved.

      • BrooklynBus says:

        Transit used to add extras on beach routes dependent on weather conditions. I highly doubt that is still the case. Back in the old trolley days, entire summer routes were added using open air trolleys.

  4. Asher says:

    As far as I know, one can transfer from a Staten Island bus to SIRT, take the ferry, and then get another transfer on the Manhattan side (and vice-versa). I know that it’s a stop-gap solution, but how hard can it be to add in exceptions for these cases (e.g. Bx 10 to Bx7 transfers add another free transfer to the A train at 207th)?

    • Andrew says:

      Any exception adds another opportunity for abuse.

      I suspect the only reason Staten Island got its generous transfer policy is that Staten Island had particularly high political standing in the late 90’s, when MetroCards were introduced.

      • BrooklynBus says:

        I don’t know the technicalities of adding in exceptions allowing three buses, but that was the traditional practice from the days of the private companies until last year and while true that it could have been abused, I think the abuse was minimal since few people knew it even existed. Until 1973 or a few years later, it was possible in Brooklyn to ride up to 14 buses on a single fare using these little known transfer privileges, but there was a fifty percent chance that two buses would cost you double fare.

        When the B6 was cutback from Rockaway Parkway back to Brooklyn College in the 1980s, a third bus was programmed in to the MetroCards when they were introduced so it definitely can be done. But I read when the B61 was split, Red Hook Riders who previously transfered in Williamsburg or Greenpoint could no longer do so. This was never mentioned as a consequence of the split since it changed a longstanding practice of over 70 years. I’m not sure what happened with I believe M10 and M11.

        • John says:

          I thought that you could transfer between the B61 and B62 and transfer to a connecting bus.
          I think they should do what a lot of other transit systems do-allow unlimited transfers between bus lines. You can also imagine commuters traveling across the city, let’s say from Queens to Staten Island and having to make a bus-subway-bus transfer (with the ferry being free, of course)

      • Edward says:

        Or that Staten Island is the only borough without a subway maybe? In fact, it’s the only county within 50 miles of Manhattan without a direct rail line to the city. Not sure about the “political clout” as opposed to basic fairness. Prior to the MetroCard, Staten Islanders were routinely paying four fares to get from Staten Island to Midtown, and another 50 cents on the ferry. I paid $5.50 per day to travel to Manhattan in 1990, which is more that I pay today. Don’t remember the rest of the city complaining about the basic unfairness of that back then.

        • Alon Levy says:

          In fact, it’s the only county within 50 miles of Manhattan without a direct rail line to the city…

          …except for Bergen, Passaic, Rockland, and Orange Counties.

          • Edward says:

            Um, have you ever heard of New Jersey Transit and Metro-North, which serve the very counties you listed and have direct rail lines to Penn and Grand Central? If you’re gonna try to one-up somebody, get your facts straight. Richmond County (Staten Island) is THE ONLY COUNTY within 50 miles on Manhattan that does not have direct rail service to Manhattan.

            • Alon Levy says:

              Honestly, I thought “direct” meant “one-seat,” or “two-seat with a nice transfer.” Secaucus isn’t a nice transfer; for one, having a faregate between the NEC and Erie lines would shame steam-era managers.

              Once you include transfers, there’s no point sticking to just rail. Rail-rail and rail-ferry transfers are the same. You can talk about service levels, but then I’d tell you that the SIR and the ferry have higher off-peak frequencies than any commuter line.

          • Edward says:

            I’m sure you’ll nitpick the “direct” service to Penn Station. Yes, a rider would have to cross the platform at Secaucus Junction, so it would be a two-seat ride from those counties to Manhattan. Still, the rail option is available to all those counties, something Staten Island doesn’t have, which was my point regarding the extra SIRT/bus transfer option.

        • Andrew says:

          It costs a lot to transport people from Staten Island to Manhattan. Basic fairness would be charging less for people who have shorter trips that cost less to provide.

          Or maybe you think that people who have made the decision to live close to the subway, where housing tends to be more expensive, should receive housing subsidies? Perhaps there should be a flat rent across the city, just as you think that having a flat fare is “basic fairness”?

          If you want a subway line, you’re living in the wrong place. I don’t think it’s a secret that the subway doesn’t go to Staten Island. You apparently decided that Staten Island has enough pros to counteract the con of long commute times to Manhattan. So enjoy those pros, and stop complaining about the con.

  5. Kai B says:

    Interesting that they don’t use a time-based approach, ie. “you won’t get charged again within 2 hours as long as you’re showing movement in one direction”. This is done in many other cities (usually smaller timeframe but NYC is huge).

    • Scott E says:

      At most subway entrances, you can’t tell what direction you’re traveling when you swipe into the station. And even if that were possible, it’s easy enought to switch directions in many places.

      • Kai B says:

        You should be able to tell by transfers though. The first transfer doesn’t matter, if the second transfer is somewhere completely different or back where you came from, you’ve changed directions.

    • Boris says:

      I saw this a lot in Europe on my last vacation. You buy a ticket at a machine at the bus stop (or on the bus) and then insert it into a different machine to get a time stamp. Regular tickets are typically valid for 75 minutes. There are lots of other options at various prices, such as a ticket valid for 24 hours. Speaking of paper tickets, I never saw thousands of them littering the streets, which is something the anti-SBS folks in Brooklyn pretend to be concerned with.

    • BrooklynBus says:

      That would be the fairest type of system except you can’t tell if people are moving only in one direction which is the fear that the MTA has why they wouldn’t do this. They are afraid huge numbers of people would make round trips for a single fare and that revenues would plummet. I think they are wrong especially if the time limit were reduced to 90 minutes or even one hour for you to make your last transfer. The vast bulk of riders need longer than this to make a round trip. I believe that whatever revenue is lost by people making round trips in short periods of time would be counterbalanced by new trips. People who can make two or three quick stops in two hours. People may leave their cars at home rather than having to search for three parking spots. And isn’t it a fact that multi-purpose trips should be encouraged to reduce energy consumption?

      • John says:

        The thing is that some commutes can be really long. If you are making one of those 3-transfer commutes, you might take over 90 minutes to make the trip. I think it would be best to leave the limit at 2 hours, since most people can’t make a round trip in that time.
        Even today, with one transfer, it is still possible to make round trips using 2 different bus routes, or a subway and parallel bus line.

        • BrooklynBus says:

          Agreed, which is why I believe the MTA is over-reacting with this fear of round trips for one fare. I mentioned shortening the transfer period to make it more palatable to the MTA. 90 minutes wouldn’t be the length of the trip though because they can’t tell when you leave the bus system. You would have 90 minutes to complete your last transfer, so your trip could still take two hours or more for one fare and your wait for the first bus also does not count. I think its fairer than a short trip of under an hour or 90 minutes that requires three buses and costs double fare.

      • Andrew says:

        Why aren’t you concerned about the people who would have to pay two fares because of the reduced time limit?

        • BrooklynBus says:

          Because if the time limit were reduced to 90 minutes, you could still travel for about two hours since the time limit ends when you make your last transfer not when you conclude your trip. In two hours you are getting fares worth. Those traveling longer are making very long trips like from Brooklyn to the Bronx where a double fare isn’t unreasonable. Even if you are riding only buses you could get from one end of the borough to another, also not a bad deal for one fare. Its better than paying two fares for a short trip of under an hour that requires three buses or a bus train and bus.

          Even 60 minutes allows about an hour and a quarter or hour and a half trip. It would only be a problem if someone has to wait an hour for a bus that supposed to run every 30 minutes which shouldn’t happen in the first place. There would have to be some provisions made for this.

          • Andrew says:

            If the first leg is on the subway, it could easily exceed 90 minutes, including the wait for the train (after swiping into the subway) and the wait for the bus (before swiping onto the bus), especially if there’s some sort of delay on either.

            Are vast numbers of riders affected? Probably not. But the point isn’t how many people. It’s the fact that it’s unfair and no one should have to suffer like this.

            • BrooklynBus says:

              Cut the sarcasm. We’re not talking about the same thing. Anyone who takes a 90 minute subway ride is traveling quite a distance like from Brooklyn to the Bronx. Paying extra to transfer to the bus in such a case is not unreasonable. You yourself said: “Basic fairness would be charging less for people who have shorter trips that cost less to provide.” That was the same thing that I was saying.

              Even if someone has to wait 20 minutes for a train (the maximum headway), That’s still a 70 minute subway ride, enough time to go across one borough and cover some distance in another. I was talking about short trips involving three buses or a bus, train, and bus that cost two fares, definitely unfair. (Also, some people will take a long two bus trip when they could make the trip quicker by bus, train, and bus but don’t do it because of the extra fare. If those transfers were allowed, some bus service could be reduced without having to add extra trains.)

              And what I meant by the “suffering” comment was that the people are already penalized by having to wait for and take an extra bus, and on top of that you are adding an extra fare. It was not meant to refer to just the extra money.

              • Andrew says:

                We could be talking about a straightforward trip from Manhattan to Jamaica or to Flushing, perhaps with some delays, followed by a missed connection to a bus with a long headway. Yes, that’s a fairly long trip, but it’s the sort of trip that lots of people take every day, and NYCT charges a flat fare regardless of distance. I don’t think that charging double for people who happen to miss their connections is a sensible fare policy.

                And there are FAR more people who would have to pay two fares in that case than in any of your examples.

  6. Andrew says:

    Depending on their exact origins and destinations, most Bushwick-to-Crown Heights travelers have alternative two-bus options, by taking a north-south bus and transferring to an east-west bus. (Allan Rosen may have worked for the authority for many years, but he only worked for a brief period in a planning capacity. His vendetta against NYCT’s planners is showing.)

    Except for people in wheelchairs (or otherwise unable to climb a flight of steps) going to 125th and St. Nicholas, the problem doesn’t exist in Riverdale at all! Instead of using the Bx7 as a bridge between the Bx10 and the A train, former Bx20 riders can use the 1 train at 231st and transfer at 168th or 59th. And, for the record, the Bx20 is still running during rush hours.

    Dinowitz is a politician. Rosen is a disgruntled retiree. Check their facts before publishing their claims.

    • Allan Rosen says:

      Who are you and do I know you? Why are you trying to discredit me?

      Do you work for the MTA? My guess would be yes.

      Your claim about most Bushwick to Crown Heights travelers having alternative two bus options may be true most of the time. However, you are neglecting the fact that many routes do not operate over a 24 hour span and all their options may not be available at all times. More important, this was only one example out of a hundred or more that could have been used. Alternates are not available in every case.

      You are also insensitive by saying that people with disabilities don’t count and don’t need to be served by mass transit. It is you or people like you who are making these type of decisions for the MTA.

      People who don’t realize how it feels like to be affected by their own actions. To you passengers are just numbers on a piece of paper. Fairness means nothing and ten or twenty here and there don’t matter, although the sum of the parts may be a significant number

      And look how quickly you dismiss Dinowitz just because he is a politician. So I guess anything any politician says is totally worthless and they all should just be ignored.

      And what does the fact that I worked briefly for Operations Planning have to do with anything? What are your qualifications that make you such an expert?

      • Andrew says:

        Who are you and do I know you? Why are you trying to discredit me?

        We’ve never met, although I have heard you speak at a public hearing.

        I’m not trying to discredit you. You are entitled to your opinions, as is everyone else. But the Times says that you “worked for the authority for many years” – I’m just clarifying that, for most of that time, you weren’t working in an area related to planning. Furthermore, it’s been obvious from your comments here and elsewhere that you don’t hold NYCT’s planners in high regard, and I have a feeling that you have an ax to grind.

        Do you work for the MTA? My guess would be yes.

        I do not. (I do have contacts in several NYCT departments.)

        Your claim about most Bushwick to Crown Heights travelers having alternative two bus options may be true most of the time. However, you are neglecting the fact that many routes do not operate over a 24 hour span and all their options may not be available at all times.

        There are, unfortunately, many bus routes that don’t run all night. There were many before June 27 and there are even more now. That makes it very difficult to get around much of the city at night. But what does that have to do with double fares?

        More important, this was only one example out of a hundred or more that could have been used. Alternates are not available in every case.

        If you knew this was a bad example, why didn’t you pick a different one to give to the Times?

        You are also insensitive by saying that people with disabilities don’t count and don’t need to be served by mass transit. It is you or people like you who are making these type of decisions for the MTA.

        I said that? Where did I say that?

        Maybe I wasn’t clear. Let’s try it again, step by step.

        Let’s say you’re a wheelchair-bound former Bx20 rider who connected with the A at 207th. Now you want to reach your destination without having to pay an extra fare. You can’t transfer from the 1 to the A at 168th like most of your fellow riders, since the elevators at 168th are a flight up from the platform. You can, however, transfer at 59th.

        So – where exactly are you going? Obviously it’s an ADA station, so let’s go through the options one by one.

        207th? Take the Bx10 and transfer to the Bx7.

        175th? Take the Bx10 and transfer to the Bx7.

        168th? Take the Bx10 and transfer to the Bx7.

        59th? Take the Bx10 and transfer to the 1 train.

        Points south of 59th? Take the Bx10, transfer to the 1 train to 59th, and transfer again to the A train. (Or, if applicable, stay on the 1 to a nearby station.)

        So what did I leave out? 125th. That’s it! And even 125th is doable (transfer at 59th), albeit a bit out of the way.

        Do you really think that’s what Dinowitz is complaining about? Everybody should get a three-leg transfer because people who can’t climb a flight of stairs who want to go to 125th have to go via 59th to avoid paying an extra fare? How many of his constituents are unable to climb a flight of stairs and make this precise trip?

        He actually makes it quite clear that he’s complaining for the sake of complaining. When the free transfer at 168th was pointed out, he said that the passageways smell of urine. I’ve used that passageway hundreds of times, and it doesn’t smell any more of urine than any other part of the subway. (Come to think of it, I rode the Bx7 two weeks ago, and the bus smelled of urine!)

        People who don’t realize how it feels like to be affected by their own actions. To you passengers are just numbers on a piece of paper. Fairness means nothing and ten or twenty here and there don’t matter, although the sum of the parts may be a significant number

        Excuse me?

        And look how quickly you dismiss Dinowitz just because he is a politician. So I guess anything any politician says is totally worthless and they all should just be ignored.

        Some politicians sometimes say things of value. A few do on a regular basis. Most never do, except when it happens by accident.

        But this isn’t any politician. This is Jeffrey Dinowitz. He should be held personally accountable for all transit cuts in his district.

        And what does the fact that I worked briefly for Operations Planning have to do with anything?

        I think your ongoing (one-sided?) feud with Operations Planning is quite relevant.

        What are your qualifications that make you such an expert?

        I have no qualifications aside from common sense, ability to read a map, and travel experience by bus and subway around much of the city.

        • Alon Levy says:

          Andrew, the last thing you should be doing is trying to impugn other people’s motives, not when much of what you write here is MTA theology.

        • Allan Rosen says:

          Since I’ve only spoke at one public hearing in the last 17 years, I think I know the hearing you are referring to.

          First, it is irrelevant that most of the time at Transit I was not in Planning. You are trying to imply that only Transit people who work in Planning could have knowledge in this area. Definitely not true. Yes, I do not hold NYCT planners in high regard and for good reason. I’ve seen the sloppiness of their work. For example, when they combined the B13 and B18 years ago, in one table they considered a customer as someone who makes a round trip and in the next table a customer was someone who made a one-way trip. Regarding these latest cuts, I don’t know if you only heard what I said or if you read my written testimony also. It provided the back-up for my oral statements describing the shortcomings I found with the MTA’s methodology. You can read it if you want at http://www.allanrosen.spaces.live.com

          For your information I started in Planning as Director of Bus Planning when Operations Planning was only for Rapid and Bus Planning was separate.

          There are many times when several options exist on how to make a particular trip. When many routes do not operate 24 hours a day, a trip with three options on how to make it, may suddenly become only one option and that option may be the one that involves three buses. That’s the relation to double fares.

          The example I gave the reporter is not a bad example. At the time I gave it to him I was not thinking of the B43 which also goes to Empire Blvd. However, it is not an option for all B48 trips south of Fulton St. I also doubt it if the MTA thought of the B43 either as an alternative when they made their decision since they advise everyone to change for the B49. I chose that example because it was an easy one to explain on a map.

          You stated: “Except for people in wheelchairs (or otherwise unable to climb a flight of steps) going to 125th and St. Nicholas, the problem doesn’t exist in Riverdale at all!” That says since people who can’t walk stairs are the only group affected, the problem doesn’t have to be solved. I interpret that as meaning that they don’t count and don’t have to be served.

          In your specific example descriptions you are saying that the only ones who have to pay two fares are those going to 125th Street if they dont want to ride six miles out of the way twice a day which you see nothing wrong with. You have a problem with everyone getting a three-leg transfer. So what? Why would someone use one if they doesn’t need it? You see massive numbers of people taking extra buses for one fare just because it exists?

          The cuts are bad enough and are hurting enough people. Two letters appeared today in Courier-Life. One from an elderly lady who complained she had to wait one hour and ten minutes for the B70 in 90 degree heat and the day before she waited one hour for the same bus. Another who is 85 years old and walks with a cane can’t walk the half mile to the shortened B3. My point was it is bad enough that people like this will have to use extra buses to make their trip, it shouldn’t also cost them an extra fare. You made it sound like if only a few are affected it doesn’t matter if they have to pay extra.

          I don’t know what you mean by a “one-sided on-going feud with Operations Planning.” When you mentioned I briefly worked there, I thought you were implying something about me not staying there longer. My experience in Ops Planning only means that I know more about it than the average person and does not detract from my comments.

          • Andrew says:

            You are trying to imply that only Transit people who work in Planning could have knowledge in this area.

            No I’m not. Most of us here, myself included, have no formal planning experience. I told you exactly what I meant: “But the Times says that you “worked for the authority for many years” – I’m just clarifying that, for most of that time, you weren’t working in an area related to planning. Furthermore, it’s been obvious from your comments here and elsewhere that you don’t hold NYCT’s planners in high regard, and I have a feeling that you have an ax to grind.”

            I’ve read your written testimony. You make some good points, although I can’t say I agree with everything you wrote. (I can’t comment any further since it appears that the page is down.)

            I also doubt it if the MTA thought of the B43 either as an alternative when they made their decision since they advise everyone to change for the B49.

            They advise everyone to change for the B49? Are you referring to the note about alternative service in the big service cut book? That’s not travel advice! It’s simply a concise description of how a former B48 rider can complete a trip. The book doesn’t list travel options for all O/D pairs! If you want travel advice, call NYCT’s information number or use the online Trip Planner.

            You stated: “Except for people in wheelchairs (or otherwise unable to climb a flight of steps) going to 125th and St. Nicholas, the problem doesn’t exist in Riverdale at all!” That says since people who can’t walk stairs are the only group affected, the problem doesn’t have to be solved. I interpret that as meaning that they don’t count and don’t have to be served.

            No, that’s not what it says. It says that the only people affected are people who can’t walk stairs who are bound for one specific station (out of 14 accessible stations on the line and numerous others on other lines), outside of rush hours. Those people, and only those people, have to choose between paying a second fare and taking a longer trip via 59th.

            Just to see how bad it really is, I ran a sample trip through the NYCT Trip Planner. The Bx10 to the Bx7 to the A takes 55 minutes; the Bx10 to the 1 to 59th for the A takes 69 minutes. Apparently, the tiny segment of the Riverdale population who might actually have a reason to pay a second fare here can opt to avoid the second fare by staying on the train for an extra 14 minutes.

            Dinowitz didn’t even mention ADA or wheelchairs in his complaint. His response to the suggestion of transferring at 168th was that the passageway smells of urine – in other words, he didn’t have a response. The ADA issue didn’t even occur to him.

            Of course, as I said before, by vocally opposing a solution to the MTA’s funding crisis, Dinowitz is responsible for this service cut. He has no right to blame the MTA. Perhaps the MTA should cut all service in his district next time.

            You have a problem with everyone getting a three-leg transfer. So what? Why would someone use one if they doesn’t need it? You see massive numbers of people taking extra buses for one fare just because it exists?

            I don’t have a problem with it, but I’m sure the MTA has a problem with the reduced fare revenues that would result. Remember, if it’s offered here, it has to be offered everywhere else too. And it’s simply not necessary here – everybody has an alternate route for only a single fare.

            The cuts are bad enough and are hurting enough people.

            Of course they are. They’re cuts.

            I don’t know what you mean by a “one-sided on-going feud with Operations Planning.” When you mentioned I briefly worked there, I thought you were implying something about me not staying there longer. My experience in Ops Planning only means that I know more about it than the average person and does not detract from my comments.

            It’s clear from your writing here and elsewhere that you’re trying to prove to the world that NYCT planners are stupid – probably in retaliation for their having apparently pushed you out of Operations Planning.

            • BrooklynBus says:

              Reduced revenues would not result from 3-legged transfers. People will not take three buses if two will do. They can take three trains for one fare so why not three buses? In fact, it may save the MTA money. People could make some trips faster by bus – train – bus than by two buses, putting an extra strain on the bus system. If more people rode the trains, more bus service could be reduced.

              It’s clear from your writing here and elsewhere that you’re trying to prove to the world that NYCT planners are stupid – probably in retaliation for their having apparently pushed you out of Operations Planning.

              Don’t make assumptions if you don’t know. I’m not trying to imply that NYCT planners are stupid. I’m implying that they are not knowledgeable about passenger habits or trip patterns when it comes to bus usage. In fact I told this to the Director of Operations Planning face to face at the hearing you saw me at. And guess what, he just remained silent and didn’t try to dispute it. (The only thing he criticized my testimony for was that he told me they did consider revenue loss but it would have taken too much paper to show it in their report. All that was required would have been an extra column in some of the tables, and that would have made the process transparent.)

              You can’t just look at numbers and think you know everything. You have to get out there and ride the buses which they don’t do. You will see things that no numbers on a piece of paper will tell you. I have good reason to be suspicious of OP and it has nothing to do with the fact that I once worked there. As I stated in my testimony, it is common planning practice not to make route changes based on passenger traffic counts, like OP did. That has nothing to do with being “stupid.” They just didn’t want to spend the money on doing proper origin destination surveys and were trying to take a short cut like they always do instead of doing the job properly. About five years ago I saw their people handing out origin destination surveys. One return usually represents about eight people. One of the passengers requested extra surveys for his friends and the surveyor promptly handed over six more surveys. An action like that invalidates your survey results, so therefore the surveyers weren’t even properly instructed prior to the survey.

              Also, the planners did not push me out of OP. I was reassigned because it became impossible for myself and my boss to work together any longer. Prior to working for him at OP, I was Director of Bus (then called Surface) Planning for the entire City. My powers were reduced and I was transferred to OP because of my asthma that prevented me from working in a bus depot infested with diesel fumes. As my boss then stated, “It’s easier to transfer you than to fix the fume problem.” So when I say the MTA always looks for the easy way out, I speak from personal experience. Naturally, I wasn’t happy about a demotion in powers, but I didn’t want to work any longer anyway in that depot. But none of that has anything to do with my comments about Operations Planning.

              (If you provide me with your e-mail address, I will send you the testimony if the page is still down. My guess is that it was only down temporarily.)

              • Andrew says:

                Allowing three buses on one fare makes it easier to complete a round trip on one fare. (That’s already possible in some cases with two buses or with bus + subway, but why should NYCT extend the possibility?) That’s not an issue on the subway, since making a round trip without exiting the system isn’t very useful.

                I doubt allowing bus-train-bus rides would cause more than a marginal reduction in peak loading compared to longer bus-bus rides.

                I’m sure you’re right that NYCT’s planners aren’t entirely familiar with passenger habits everywhere in the city – it’s a huge system, especially when it comes to buses, and there’s no way a small planning staff can possibly have a full understanding of everything. That doesn’t mean that they don’t have a general sense of how people get from place to place around the city.

                Paper origin-destination surveys are very expensive and prone to error (as you yourself witnessed!), and yield a small sample. Without reading the article itself, it looks like NYCT has shifted to a much less expensive technique that produces a much larger sample:
                http://frumin.net/ation/2006/1.....mat_1.html

  7. leg says:

    I don’t understand how the number of people affected isn’t a big point. We’re talking about mass transit here, and plenty of decisions are going to have negatives affects on some set of people in one way or the other. But if it isn’t a large number of people it’s hard to see why this injustice is so horrible.

    • BrooklynBus says:

      Would you say executing one innocent individual is an injustice although hundreds of executions may be justified because the people are guilty?

      • Al D says:

        Is this your equivalent of a transit service reduction? Whoa, you need help, my friend.

        • BrooklynBus says:

          The analogy is legitimate, although extreme. The point made was not about a transit service reduction. The point was about justice and fairness. Leg believes that an injustice is not “horrible” if few people are affected. The degree of the injustice has nothing to do with the numbers of people affected. It is still the same injustice for those who are affected which probably number in the hundreds or the thousands daily. (No one really knows. Some people who don’t check their MetroCard balances often and don’t travel every day, probably don’t even realize they are being charged double.

          It’s so horrible because no additional transfers was a conscious decision of the MTA and not a direct result of the reductions themselves. The extent of the injustice is widened, the more people that are affected, but the degree of the injustice remains the same if it is one person or two thousand.

  8. John says:

    Suffer? People sure have a low pain threshold if this is considered “suffering.” And it’s not like zoned fares are unheard of.

    • BrooklynBus says:

      What does this have to do with zoned fares? Just because people are required to travel using three buses does not mean their trip is longer than those who use a single bus?

      • John says:

        That was in reference to the quote in the article that, “They have in effect been placed in two-fare zones.” I realize that taking three buses doesn’t necessarily mean your ride is longer than someone who takes one, but it almost always is, and in this example they sure made it sound like it was.

        • BrooklynBus says:

          The term “zoned fares” usually means a distance based fare system not the flat fare we have. When he said two-fare zones he really meant having to pay an extra fare for the trip. That’s why I didn’t understand what you said. A trip made by someone who uses three buses could be longer or shorter than someone who uses one or two buses. With the cutbacks, the average trip length of someone who uses three buses just became shorter.

  9. Larry Littlefield says:

    “Suffer? People sure have a low pain threshold if this is considered “suffering.” And it’s not like zoned fares are unheard of.”

    Exactly, and for real suffering, wait until next year (or the year after if they once again increase the level of disaster by postponing its timing).

    Endgame — a deteriorating subway that covers its operating cost, with on ongoing replacment. Every little bus service. Commuter railroads subsidized by New York City residents.

    One word: bicycle. That trip from Bushwick to Crown Heights would take no time a tall on a bicycle, riding at a modest pace and expending no more effort than walking.

    Young people had better get with it, as biking will help them stay in better shape than those who came before. Which they will need as they don’t get to retire until 75 and have little health insurance, to pay for those who came before.

    • BrooklynBus says:

      My comment above to John applies to you as well. This has nothing to do with zoned fares. Your comment shows how little you understand of the situation.

      That’s right. You and your fellow streetsbloggers can replace all bus service with bicycles. Let’s just remember that bicycles can be used by all types of people because everyone is physically fit and able to ride. And aren’t they just so much fun in the rain. snow and cold? And let us all remember how safe bike riding is because no one is ever killed or severely injured. Tell that to my sister who has been in a coma for six years.

      • Larry Littlefield says:

        I’m not saying it isn’t bad. I’m saying that a year or two from now, it won’t seem bad, because it is likely to be worse.

        The future has been sold for nearly 20 years at the NY State level, and for 30 years with some interruptions nationally. The debt and unfunded pension obligations are facts.

        So all the liabilities you describe will be part of trying to make the diminished future work. I’m not happy about it. I’m resigned.

        • BrooklynBus says:

          I am not going to argue with you. I only want to add one point. Before and after the public hearings, the media paid very little attention to the service cuts outside of the student fare issue. That was because most did not realize the seriousness of these cuts, especially the bus cuts which the MTA had to have been planning for three to five years or longer. They were never prepared in 30 days as was stated in their documents. They made ten years of service changes in one day.

          Interestingly enough, now that they are already in effect, there seems to be more news coverage now that people can see what happened.

          Your comment that in a few years they won’t seem that bad is indeed very scary because if the MTA continues cutting at this level, soon we won’t have a bus system left. If in a few years 25 percent of the routes are operated by private van services and they are successful, what does that say about the MTA? Personally I would have no problem with that if it didn’t mean extra fares to transfer buses. That would mean a step backward into the days of pre-MetroCard with a totally non-sensical bus transfer structure. Metro-Card and an air-conditioned fleet are two of the MTA’s greatest accomplishments, in my opinion.

          • Larry Littlefield says:

            The public paid little attention to anything until it was too late. I did what my limited capabilities allowed back when I thought it could make a difference (probably already too late then), even quitting a job at NYC Transit to run against the state legislature as a minor party candidate, costing my family nine months of my income.

            http://ipny.org/Littlefield/civicunion2020.html

            But while mass transit has been a particular interest of mine, it is just one aspect of the consequences in the era of Generation Greed.

            In fact, there is better news here than elsewhere. With enough fare increases, service cuts and wage freezes, the subway can cover its operating costs, making life and business here viable if unpleasant, and I can ride a bicycle.

            Take the same future-selling and apply it to the schools, Social Security and other senior benefits that were enriched for today’s seniors but might not be there for tomorrows and I don’t see the alternatives. And amenities such as parks and libraries will go down before they do.

            It will be a difficult decade or two. This is the least of it.

            • BrooklynBus says:

              You are to be commended for quitting your job at NYC Transit and trying to get into politics to change things for the better especially at a personal cost.

              • Larry Littlefield says:

                Didn’t make a difference. They kept doing what they had been doing, only more so.

                • BrooklynBus says:

                  NYC Transit does not encourage independent thinking; in fact they highly discourage it. They just want you to be loyal and follow orders like in the army. Treating your employees with respect does not cost anything and would raise morale and productivity. They can’t even understand something that basic. You didn’t lose anything by leaving.

                  • Larry Littlefield says:

                    The problem is the state. Pataki and Bruno are gone, but Silver is still there, and Skelos is no better. The Comptroller is an ex state assemblyman.

                    People thought Spitzer alone could turn things around. Now they believe the same of Cuomo.

          • Brian says:

            I agree with everything you stated. If the majority of New Yorkers start complaining about bus service, the MTA will have no choice to keep bus service. You can expect a severe backlash if New York City had zero bus service.

  10. Mike G says:

    Biking to the 7 or the F train from Fresh Meadows at 6am in the dark, cold, possibly rain or snow from November to March is not a great solution. Eastern Queens is not exactly what I would call “bicycle friendly”.

    The two-fare zone(thanks to the full time, off peaks and weekend cuts)and the already long commute time(1+ hours) for people who live less than 12 miles from midtown manhattan is absurd. Not everyone can afford cars, car insurance, a parking spot at home and at work, gas, or their lives as they bike to work down Francis Lewis Boulevard.

    Yeah, but that’s not suffering. It must only affect a few thousand people. We should just deal with it and double our commuting costs and commute times.

  11. steve says:

    The other option for the people in the B48 example is to walk a little more and use a different bus. The B44 and the B43 both intersect with the 52 and go within a few blocks of the destination mentioned.

    (I was a frequent B69 rider and now I have to walk more, too. Life sucks.)

    • BrooklynBus says:

      If your destination is Empire Blvd, it really wouldn’t matter because as you say, you could take the B43, but if it’s something like Carroll Street and Washington Avenue, it’s up a slight hill. It may be within walking guidelines but certainly an inconvenience especially in bad weather. We should be looking for ways to increase travel options and making it easier to use mass transit, not decreasing them.

      And of course this isn’t the only example, just one of many.

      • Andrew says:

        Lots of people are inconvenienced by the service cuts, even in good weather. They’re service cuts.

        Using what source of funding should the we be increasing travel options?

        • BrooklynBus says:

          By running the agency more efficiently, for example by getting rid of people who accomplish absolutely nothing. I’ve seen managers who all they do is delegate all their assignments to subordinates and then just hound them for it. If they receive a problem or question from their subordinates, they just refer it to their boss, get a response and forward the response back.

          Some people who are not competent with the computer program they are using and will spend two hours trying to figure something out, while someone who is proficient can complete the assignment in ten minutes. Why send buses deadhead to the depot when they could go halfway down the route when other buses are so crowded you can’t get on? Why make an eight mile deadhead trip at 4:30 in the morning when no time is saved by not picking up the few passengers that may want the bus?

          You wouldn’t believe how much waste there is. What you read about in the newspapers or see on TV is only the tip of the iceberg. The problem is that it is not easy to find the waste. Cutting service is easier and the MTA always looks for the easy way out when tackling problems instead of getting to the root of the problem.

  12. ferryboi says:

    Is a “duel fare” when two folks shoot at each other to see who pays? Think you meant “dual fare” zone 🙂

  13. BrooklynBus says:

    The “duel fare” was abolished when they cut the B33 Hamilton Avenue route. (I noticed the error too but I decided to let it pass.)

  14. John says:

    My argument for allowing unlimited transfers in some form or another is that they can use it as an excuse to reduce service further. For example, an example that I gave the MTA in my neighborhood is the fact that the S44 and S59 are close to empty south of Forest Avenue/Richmond Avenue. If they allowed unlimited transfers, they could short-turn the last few S44s at Forest Avenue and have riders make an extra transfer to the S59 (the buses would be timed to connect). Since the S44 normally ends near the Yukon Depot, I would say to send those short-turn S44s over to the nearby Castleton Depot. I’m sure there are plenty of examples of cost savings that could be squeezed out if the MTA would just implement the unlimited transfers.

    • BrooklynBus says:

      If only a few people use the services you speak of, I have no problem with allowing an extra transfer and eliminating them. The problem is that the MTA does not use sense only cents, so they would cut back bus loads of 30 people and force those people to crowd into another bus.

      A friend of mine has a similar proposal of eastern Queens regarding express routes that carry only two people during midday and travel out to the borough line. He reasons that during those hours, those buses could terminate several miles from the City line and people could transfer to local buses operating along the same street.

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