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.