Home Asides The son of the return of congestion pricing

The son of the return of congestion pricing

by Benjamin Kabak

As the MTA struggles to find a reliable source of dedicated revenue and the city remains choked by traffic, higher-ups in the Bloomberg Administration appear to be putting out feelers again on a potential congestion pricing plan. Stephen Goldsmith, the new Deputy Mayor for Operations, sat down for a chat with NY1 this week, and during the interview, he spoke at length about the future of congestion pricing.

While he isn’t sure if the New York political climate in Albany would pass a congestion measure, Goldsmith understands the need for traffic pricing and the costs driving exerts on society. “The issue is,” he said, “you’ve got a limited number of transportation mechanisms and different ways to get around — Both how you get around and where you are driving or what subway you are taking or what bus you are on. How New Yorkers use those resources will have to be very efficient for the infrastructure to maintain the number of people, and congestion pricing causes people to think differently about how they consume those roads and consume those bridges. So it’s a very important signal to the populace.”

If Bloomberg wanted to make one last play for congestion pricing in the final years of his reign as mayor, after the upcoming election would be a fine time to do so. Those in Albany whose support is required wouldn’t be fighting a campaign, but even still, congestion pricing with revenues dedicated to the MTA has the support of the majority of New Yorkers. The measure also passed the City Council two years ago and would do so again. The time might be right for another push.

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Marc Shepherd July 22, 2010 - 1:28 pm

Let us fervently hope so. It is just so f___ing obvious that this needs to be done.

ferryboi July 22, 2010 - 1:31 pm

Here we go again. MTA cuts back bus and subway service, and now expects those who need to drive to Manhattan to pay through the nose so they can restore the service we had previously. Nothing like adding a huge tax on drivers during an economic downturn to make Manhattan into a car-free Utopia.

Seriously though, how much will they charge to enter Manhattan? Five dollars, ten maybe? I wouldn’t mind if there was a guarantee that all that extra money would a) actually go to the MTA to improve bus/subway service, and b) the MTA will not waste the money given to them on 11% raises and CCTV cameras that don’t work.

A tall order indeed, and one suspects that after a while the city/state will start diverting these monies away from the MTA to plug future budget holes. All this on the backs of already overtaxed and underserved outer-borough residents. Not a good way to keep people in NYC for the long term, now is it?

Benjamin Kabak July 22, 2010 - 1:49 pm

Here’s my stock response: Over 5 million people use the subways a day. A few hundred thousand rich enough to do so drive into the Manhattan CBD daily. It has nothing to do with keeping outer borough residents in NYC for the long term. A fiscally sound suway system would accomplish that better than no congestion pricing would. It’s not like you’ll be charged for any other trips.

ferryboi July 22, 2010 - 2:06 pm

“It’s not like you’ll be charged for any other trips.”

Unless you live on Staten Island, where residents already pay $5.50 to drive to Brooklyn. If the East River bridges are also tolled at say $5 a pop (each way), then a resident “rich enough” to drive in for a midnight shift in midtown will have to pay $15.50 PER DAY to drive in. Or they can take a bus/ferry/subway from SI to midtown, provided they leave home around 9pm to get there by midnight.

Are we becoming a nation that believes that someone who doesn’t live near reliable bus/subay service and owns a car is now “rich”? And if I am all of a sudden a “rich” car owner, does that mean I need to fork over $15 a day so some “poor” Manhattanite who pays $2500 a month on rent can ride a bus to the theatre?

And what of bike riders? The DOT is spending millions on dedicated bike lanes. Will bikers be charged tolls to go over bridges or to use bike lanes? Or are all bike riders classified as poor, including the ones who live in W’burg and spend more on rent than I could ever hope to afford?

Let’s call this for what it is: a war on drivers who, over the past few years, have become NYC’s boogieman. If this really is about obtaining funds for the MTA, then raise the fare to $3, cut the fat, and raise taxes across the board.

Benjamin Kabak July 22, 2010 - 2:17 pm

I’ll parry with this one:

Unless you live on Staten Island, where residents already pay $5.50 to drive to Brooklyn. If the East River bridges are also tolled at say $5 a pop (each way), then a resident “rich enough” to drive in for a midnight shift in midtown will have to pay $15.50 PER DAY to drive in. Or they can take a bus/ferry/subway from SI to midtown, provided they leave home around 9pm to get there by midnight.

How many people do you know who live on Staten Island, work a midnight shift, own a car and drive it to work each day? I’d have to guess that number isn’t high if it’s greater than 0. Most of those workers aren’t driving either. The numbers back that up, and these arguments about workers who do that are simply strawmen examples.

Additionally, even if these aren’t strawmen arguments and droves of Staten Islanders are driving to Manhattan for their midnight shifts, it doesn’t matter. The previous congestion pricing plans applied to cars entering the Manhattan CBD from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Your theoretical driver wouldn’t even be charged the fee.

Are we becoming a nation that believes that someone who doesn’t live near reliable bus/subay service and owns a car is now “rich”? And if I am all of a sudden a “rich” car owner, does that mean I need to fork over $15 a day so some “poor” Manhattanite who pays $2500 a month on rent can ride a bus to the theatre?

It’s not a matter of being rich or poor based upon where you live. It’s the simple fact that the overwhelming majority of those entering the Manhattan CBD on a daily basis via automobile are simply wealthier than everyone else. Plus, the numbers don’t lie. People who are middle and lower class and don’t live in Manhattan need the subway more than they need artificially free river crossings or congestion pricing.

And what of bike riders? The DOT is spending millions on dedicated bike lanes. Will bikers be charged tolls to go over bridges or to use bike lanes? Or are all bike riders classified as poor, including the ones who live in W’burg and spend more on rent than I could ever hope to afford?

Another strawman argument. Bikes aren’t emissions-creating motorvehicles. It’s simple to write a bill that allows for congestion pricing and doesn’t cover bikes.

Let’s call this for what it is: a war on drivers who, over the past few years, have become NYC’s boogieman.

No one is denying that it’s a war on cars. At the same time, no one is denying the negative impact cars have on the city’s environment, the fact that congestion costs the city $3 billion in lost production annually and the fact that transit – the greener, better option – needs a source of funding. New York City wasn’t built up because cars sustained. It was built up because of the subway system. For a host of reasons, including the fact that auto drivers don’t pay for the externalities associated with driving, we
shouldn’t be promoting driving.

The arguments that rely on appeals to populist concepts of workers and people that don’t exist are smoke screens.

ferryboi July 22, 2010 - 2:28 pm

Well, I for one work many midnight shifts and drive in when I do so. I know 2 other workers in my building who live on SI and do the same. We do so because the MTA has never considered building a subway out here, so our options are very limited. If congestion pricing is a war on emissions-creating motor vehicles, than call it that. This whole “congestion pricing” nomenclature is silly.

Of course, this is all a pretty moot point because any politician with half a brain will see this as a tax on outer-borough residents, who pay a fair share of taxes and vote often. Drivers will make it loud and clear that they wont stand for an extra $10 a day tax, so all those “poor” subway riders better find another cash cow to milk.

Benjamin Kabak July 22, 2010 - 2:32 pm

If outer borough politicians feel that way, why did congestion pricing pass the City Council in the first place? Bloomberg’s propsals have the support of most outer borough politicians. It’s the Manhattan-based Sheldon Silver who has some sort of objection to it.

As to your own personal experience, if you’re driving into Manhattan after 6 p.m., you wouldn’t face a congestion pricing charge. It’s the simple.

Finally to call this a tax is just wrong. I live in an outer borough, and I enter Manhattan every single day between the hours of 6 a.m. and 6 p.m. I would never have to pay the congestion pricing fee because I, like literally millions of others, take the subway.

You don’t pay the costs of your driving, and I don’t need to see you enjoy relatively free driving while my subway system is cut to shreds.

Justin Samuels July 23, 2010 - 3:14 pm

If congestion pricing becomes a reality, here is what will happen. The MTA would get funding for phases 2-4 of the second avenue subway by issuing bonds. The bonds would be revenue bonds, backed by the revenues taken from congestion pricing.

The more money the MTA gets, the more they will spend, and the more bonds they will issue (because fares and tolls ultimately always go up). As for subway riders being poor, the people who live in Manhattan and who take the train to work can be making six digits. Urban and mass transit rider doesn’t equal poor (though plenty of poor people ride the subway) nor does driving a car make one rich.

A number of people I know who work in metro NYC who are government employees like firemen, cops, teachers, etc get free parking at work and often drive, even into Manhattan. That doesn’t make them rich.

But back to driving, the car itself is expensive, so is fuel, auto insurance, and on top of that, the tolls the driver’s must pay.

To tell you the truth, in the current NYC, people who live close to subways tend to be wealthier these days. Few people making six or seven digits on Wall Street are going to live way the hell out there in Staten Island, or the parts of Brooklyn and Queens that don’t have subway service. I’m well aware the trains serve poor areas such as the South Bronx, but most of the money in NYC is concentrated in Manhattan (which has good train service) or in the parts of Brooklyn and Queens that are a close commute to NYC by train.

Ariel July 24, 2010 - 2:01 pm

Ben, you constantly erroneously point fingers directly at Sheldon Silver as the person who caused congestion pricing to fail.

Although Shelly should get some of the blame because of his lack of leadership, you really need to point fingers at outer borough and suburban assembly members who were truly against CP and refused to vote for it.

Shelly’s district has a lot to benefit from CP, so naturally he would be all for it. The reason he didn’t put it to the floor last time was because there weren’t enough votes in the Democratic caucus for it to pass.

Had the bill gone to the floor, I’m sure Shelly would have voted for it. Where his leadership failed was that he didn’t put up for a vote even though it would fail. That way, does who voted against it can get the backlash from the transit riding public.

Edward July 26, 2010 - 11:41 am


What was that about drivers not paying their “fare” share to the MTA?

Andrew July 29, 2010 - 10:42 pm

That’s called political posturing.

Staten Island residents don’t pay an $11 toll – they pay an average $2.74 toll, assuming they make the same number of trips in each direction. Unless they carpool, in which case they pay $1.28 (that’s $0.64 or less per person).

And Staten Islanders drive on taxpayer-subsidized roads getting to and from the bridge they love to complain about, and perhaps they even park their cars for free on public land once they reach their destinations.

Staten Islanders also complain about heavy traffic. Do you want 1000 additional cars on the road in front of you? That’s what you’d get if the passengers on one subway train all decided to switch to cars because their transit service was no longer adequate or because it no longer offered enough of a price advantage over driving.

Anon October 1, 2010 - 9:46 pm
Tim July 22, 2010 - 2:24 pm

So move.

This is textbook case of “needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”.

Congestion pricing is a phenomenal idea that would completely pay for the shortages the MTA is facing, with plenty of money to spare. Look at this article and check otu the giant spread sheet attached. It’s an excellent statistical breakdown of just why congestion pricing would be a good idea.


As for Staten Island, when did they start charging tolls for the ferry?

ferryboi July 22, 2010 - 2:28 pm

Who said they charge tolls on the ferry?

Boris July 22, 2010 - 2:58 pm

Congestion pricing would only apply during the day, so I don’t see why you’d be paying at midnight. The “perfect” congestion pricing system would actually lower or raise all tolls based on demand, so ideally tolls on the Verrazanno would go down at night as well.

I live in Staten Island and occasionally drive to the NYU area at night. Lately I’ve been so fed up with traffic on the Brooklyn Bridge, at all hours, that I now always take the Battery Tunnel. So effectively I pay $22 per round trip. And I think it’s a fair price given the service – NYU to my house in 30 minutes. The bridge would take an extra 15-20 minutes, lead me over some terrible potholed roads, and make me jockey for space with the cabbies.

$15-20 for such a trip is the true price for it, and I think it’s the price every driver should pay. It’s a measly $1 per mile. If we were all charged that much for driving trips within NYC, we’d have perfect roads, no congestion, and much better public transit, leading to an overall improvement in our quality of life. What’s not to like?

Alon Levy July 22, 2010 - 4:00 pm

According to the American Community Survey, among people who work in Manhattan, those who drive to work have a median income of $62,758 and those who take transit have a median income of $47,416.

Andrew July 25, 2010 - 11:51 pm

For the record, the wealthiest of the five boroughs is – drumroll – Staten Island.

Andrew July 29, 2010 - 10:33 pm

Staten Island residents get a 40% discount on the toll (or a 72% discount if they carpool). Nobody else gets a discount of that sort – not Brooklyn residents who work in Staten Island, and nobody at any of the other B&T facilities except for the two Rockaway bridges, which serve a similarly whiney crowd.

Al D July 22, 2010 - 2:26 pm

Congestion pricing targets the CORRECT audience, those drivers, irrespective of point of origin that operate a motor vehicle in the central business district during peak business hours. East River bridge tolls unfairly target (i) outer borough residents (ii) those who work off-peak hours who may actually NEED to use their cars at that time of day, and (iii) likely many other groupings. Additionally, ALL Manhattan residents who live within the CBD boundary AND use theirs cars during the peak period should also be charged the congestion pricing tax.

SEAN July 22, 2010 - 3:28 pm

Another upside to congestion pricing is right here in this thred. Those with fareboy’s attitude really don’t want to live here & once they leave, it will open the door to those who will embrace the greatness of New York.

John Paul N. July 22, 2010 - 3:46 pm

One area that’s still of deficiency is the lack of parking spaces near the congestion pricing boundaries and the limited number of acceptable park-and ride lots. For example, there used to be a municipal parking lot at Queens Plaza but I think it has closed and is being redeveloped. That location would be a great car-transit transfer point.

Angus Grieve-Smith July 23, 2010 - 12:44 am

Like hell it would! The idea is to get those people onto the train before they drive through my neighborhood.

John Paul N. July 23, 2010 - 5:49 am

Yeah, I probably should backtrack on that Queens Plaza statement. I wouldn’t want extra cars in my neighborhood if that neighborhood was along the CP boundary, either. The problem of strategic park-and-ride lot locations, especially those that will feed off of expressway traffic, still remains.

Speaking of, Queens Center is geographically a good place for a park and ride lot, if nothing was there before (Queens & Woodhaven Boulevards, LIE). So for Queens Center and the neighboring retail malls, they would be even more loathe to have to comply with a law or incentive to provide commuter parking spaces because they would be too popular and would hurt the traffic to their businesses. But Sean, don’t quote me on this, this is my personal observation and I have no idea about the management of shopping malls.

Alon Levy July 23, 2010 - 1:34 pm

On the contrary: it’s usually much more beneficial to develop the area around the station than to put parking on it. Retail and office development, in particular, generate reverse-peak traffic, which costs the transit operator nothing to provide. High-density residential development generates all-day traffic, and creates captive markets for transit.

The standard practice for urban rail around the world is either to provide no or minimal parking at stations, or charge for parking. Park-and-rides help generate peak-direction traffic but no off-peak or reverse-peak traffic, raising operating costs much more than they raise ridership.

John Paul N. July 23, 2010 - 5:19 pm

I agree that transit oriented development is much better in established and future stations. But I gather the main obstacle to that is zoning laws and politicos who like things the way they are.

The other thing is we would not need park-and-ride lots (thus raising the appeal of congestion pricing) if subway and connecting bus options were available, flexible, fast, frequent and convenient for passengers through all hours of the day in all or most areas of the city. Maybe frequent in all hours of the day is a stretch. If an area of the city has no transit service on weekends, car ownership wouldn’t change if a person needs to get around at that time. To amortize the cost of owning a car, the person would want to use it as much as possible, defeating the purpose of increased public transit.

For suburban commuters, especially with the negative LI Bus news, park-and-rides are almost totally necessary.

Alon Levy July 23, 2010 - 6:07 pm

I’m not sure local politicos like park-and-rides any more than they like new mixed-use development. Park-and-rides increase car traffic in a neighborhood; even when most suburbs or neighborhoods using a rail line might agree that they’re needed, none would want one in its own backyard.

Bus connections in New York aren’t fast or flexible, but they’re frequent. Most of the busiest lines in Queens, some running every 4-5 minutes at the peak, form a network converging on Jamaica and Flushing. I agree that the city needs to do a far better job improving those connections (bagging the 34th Street BRT in favor of a Flushing-Jamaica line would be a good start). But even now, there are some decent alternative options for people who’re driving into Manhattan.

AlexB July 22, 2010 - 3:48 pm

Congestion pricing is a great idea, but I’d actually prefer a regional network of bus only lanes. Imagine a dedicated lane from Staten Island to midtown via the Staten Island Expressway, the Verrazano, Brooklyn Battery Tunnel and the FDR all day long in both directions. The express buses could make the trip in 30 minutes, just like ferryboi could in the middle of the night. If you did the same thing along the LIE, Bruckner, and BQE, you could get a city-wide express network for buses. Robert Moses had to cause so much destruction to build our highway system, it’s time we got something good from it besides asthma.

SEAN July 22, 2010 - 4:36 pm

Well said. A rapid bus system is only a single element of a larger network that includes bus, subway, ferry & commuter rail. Not to be forgotten are better sidewalks & bike lanes.

As for park & rides, there are shopping centers throughout the city with large lots & garages that are mostly empty durring the week. Transitioning some spaces to commuter parking could remove unessessary cars off the road as most of them have frequent bus service to & from.

Bay Plaza, Bay Terrace, SI Mall, Kings Plaza, the centers along Queens Boulevard through Rego Park, the new big box center south of Yankee Stadium near 149th Street, Main Street Flushing, Downtown Jamaica & areas near City Field.

This list is far from exaustive, but is ment to give a few examples of what creative thinking can acomplish.

John Paul N. July 22, 2010 - 5:08 pm

I don’t know if the shopping centers would appreciate the use of their parking lots for non-shopping center business. (Queens Center apparently goes so far as to put no-parking signs on streets near the mall on weekends in order to lure drivers into their parking garages.) But if they do, then the accommodation will be available, although not as best as near the CP boundary.

SEAN July 22, 2010 - 6:13 pm

There’s two easy methods to solve that problem & both relate to money. You can either give center owners/ developers an aditional tax break to allow such parking, wich may lead parkers to become shoppers if they knew those spaces were avaleable. The other thing you can do is take away any tax breaks & insentives to those developers & owners if they don’t allow such parking. Either way the word would be out to open parking spaces to commuters.

I could see putting in a clause that would allow those spaces to be released durring busy shopping times such as black Friday to New years & of course on weekends.

John Paul N. July 22, 2010 - 4:58 pm

How would you justify a bus-only lane that would look empty for much of the day? If one bus uses the lane at a location per minute, that is 60 buses per hour, and that sounds like a stretch for the amount of express buses outside rush hour. If the bus-only lane was combined with a HOV lane, perhaps that’s a better use of the expressway. Obviously not the same, but non-bus drivers won’t fume that nobody is using the bus lane.

AlexB July 22, 2010 - 6:27 pm

I would justify it by pointing out that you can get to work from Staten Island to Midtown in 30 minutes, traveling at a constant 45 mph on the highway with no stops, which is currently impossible. I’d say, “If you want to use the lane, take the bus.”

I would also justify it by saying that it had to be a regional system. Traffic on the whitestone can back up as far or farther than on the queensboro. It should do more than enable you to get from eastern Queens to midtown, it should also allow you to get from eastern Queens to the northern Bronx. Again, if you want to use the lane, take a bus.

I could easily see a subway type map of a regional bus network that looked like a subway map. Despite being incredibly destructive, Moses really did build a very comprehensive network. Imagine how differently the city would function if there were exclusive bus lanes on the FDR with sidings for bus stops, that fed into the new 34th st busway. It would move much faster than the new M15 and would provide relief for the 4/5/6.

An HOV lane might work if it required 3+ people during rush hour, so long as very fast speeds could be maintained on the highway and through the tunnels. A high cost toll lane would also do the trick. The fact is, there are so many reasonably fast ways to get into Manhattan during rush hour (subways, express buses, commuter trains), and driving causes so much harm, it’s hard for to justify NOT having congestion pricing. I could see providing a tax write off or discount from plumbers, contractors, etc, who can’t do work in the city without vans and trucks, but everybody else should have to pay.

John Paul N. July 23, 2010 - 5:20 am

Did you copy my style from one of my comments of last week? If you did, good choice. 🙂

On the maps, Moses did build a comprehensive highway network, but it was one that filled to capacity very quickly and still is for the large part, therefore it was not so comprehensive. I’m not in support for new highways that destroy neighborhoods, like the Mid-Manhattan Expressway or other expressway schemes of Moses. (If there are highways that should be built, it would be the ones that cross under New York Harbor: New Jersey-Long Island, Staten Island-Manhattan.)The same goes for more highway lanes. So that leaves the question of how to manage and direct what we do have more effectively.

Converting an all-purpose lane to one that is limited to certain vehicles is not a no-brainer when your road capacity is small. Complaints by drivers, like the one I described, will be aired out to the media and politicians and will effectively kill your plans.

And I reiterate my personal feeling that some people won’t simply give up their cars for public transit overnight. The regional network would also need to reach the highest amount of people for which people who travel to the CBD by car would switch to public transit near their homes. The “local” portions of express bus routes in residential areas are just as important as the express portions. (By the methods of route planning that the MTA has used, you’ll also have to put faith in that department as well.) Even if the express bus is speedy, if it doesn’t directly serve your neighborhood, you’re not going to be inclined to use it.

Heavy rail or grade-separated light rail are superior to buses in a Staten Island-to-Manhattan or Brooklyn connection, so what you propose should not be a permanent solution. And the existing rail and subway infrastructure is just as extensive. If rail and subway operating costs can maintained well, then there’s no need for bus-only highway lanes. (But as the June service cuts showed, the MTA’s way of managing operating costs is to eliminate routes, so that’s another thing to keep an eye on.)

In short, I am not debating if your plan could work, but whether it is practical or politically possible. Unfortunately, I don’t think it is. Do I have the solutions? No. But I would prefer another plan first.

I should also be clear that I support congestion pricing in principle. I will also admit now, for the sake of the comments here, that I was the person who started the New York congestion pricing article on Wikipedia. I didn’t want to, but I just did.

Alon Levy July 23, 2010 - 1:46 pm

I’d justify an empty bus lane by pointing out that freeways are often empty for much of the day. I don’t think anyone’s proposing to close down lanes on below-capacity highways in the off-peak.

Andrew July 25, 2010 - 11:58 pm

Express buses are a huge drain on the MTA’s operating budget.

An express bus carries about 50 people with one operator, and then probably turns around and heads back empty. A subway train carries 1000-1500 people with an operator and a conductor, and also carries decent crowds in the reverse-peak direction. A subway train also has some degree of turnover (i.e., two paying customers occupying the same space over different line segments) and can be scheduled to a much greater degree of accuracy.

In the long run, it’s much cheaper to increase subway capacity (CBTC?) where necessary and to get bus riders onto the subway as soon as possible.

AK July 22, 2010 - 4:02 pm

There is much argument about who drives where and when in these comments. Instead of adding my two cents (which is very similar to Ben’s in most regards), I’ll offer a website that has terrific data sets related to congestion pricing and its effect on various segments of New York City’s population:


The fact sheets contain, for each county or legislative district, a breakdown of commuting patterns by mode and destination, vehicle ownership statistics, and the average incomes of vehicle-owning households and non-vehicle-owning households. The analysis shows that vehicle-owning households throughout the region are wealthier, ON AVERAGE, than households without access to a vehicle, not only in Manhattan, but in the outer boroughs, New Jersey, Long Island, and Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam counties.

For a breakdown by City COuncil district, see here:


Other breakdowns (by State Assembly districts, etc.) are available as well.

John Paul N. July 22, 2010 - 4:19 pm

Do the factsheets mention anything about commercial vehicles?

BTW, that page that shows the City Council members really needs to be updated. It still shows John Liu and Hiram Monserrate, for example.

AK July 22, 2010 - 5:32 pm

The charts are from the last time Congestion Pricing came before the Council. The statistics are unlikely to be significantly different (even though the names have changed).

John Paul N. July 23, 2010 - 6:15 am

The lowest figure I could find is about 93% of workers in a district “would not be [financially] affected by the charge,” which sounds good (for keeping the number of people impacted financially to a minimum). So it is likely the legislators’ opinions of the MTA that may have killed it, if not Sheldon Silver himself or the costs of implementation and projected revenue or some other thing. Or it may be indeed the wealthy don’t want to pay for the transportation of the middle class and the poor.

Andrew D. Smith July 22, 2010 - 5:44 pm

Although congestion charges are a good idea for many reasons — mostly clearing congestion so that people who really need to get places can do so — any added money they give to the MTA will do little to improve service or cut ridership costs. If the MTA gets extra money, its unions will note this fact and simply take said money for its members at their next contract negotiations. Then the funding crisis will be back, as it has been constantly for the past sixty years. For that whole time, people have acted like some finite amount of money would solve the problem once and for all, and on several occasions the money came but it never solved anything for more than a couple years, until people adjusted to the new funding norm. Why? There simply isn’t enough money to satisfy people with unlimited desires. No, the MTA needs to get a handle on its costs.

Justin Samuels July 23, 2010 - 3:17 pm

Exactly, the MTA needs to get a handle on its costs, and yes, some service such as certain routes in Manhattan simply needed to be eliminated. Token booth clerks need to be reduced in number. Once the MTA has made the organization more efficient (such as the communications department consolidations) THEN we can talk more seriously about congestion pricing.

Kai B July 23, 2010 - 8:55 am

There are certainly some areas in and around NYC without good public transportation. However, it is certainly possible to drive to the nearest subway station and then take it into town. This is called “park and ride” and the city/state should certainly do more to encourage it. Build a massive parking garage in Jamaica and at other subway termini and charge low rates to park there. This works well around the world (and basically already exists on all NYC commuter lines) and would work well for our subway too.

Alon Levy July 23, 2010 - 1:49 pm

On the contrary, it works poorly around the world, including on the NYC commuter lines. On every block in Jamaica, it’s going to be better for transit to build an office building or a shopping center than to build a parking garage. See my above comment to John Paul N.

Justin Samuels July 23, 2010 - 3:18 pm

Jamaica has opted for shopping centers, hotels, etc near its transit hub, not parking spaces……………

John July 24, 2010 - 11:55 pm

Now that the service has been reduced, it seems like a perfect time to implement congestion pricing, as more expensive lines have been eliminated. If congestion pricing were to be implemented in say, a year, the MTA would be able to restore the more efficient lines and forget about the inefficient ones.
That was the one good thing about the service cuts-it forced the MTA to look at which routes are inefficient. With the savings, additional buses could be used on more heavily-traveled routes.

Justin Samuels July 27, 2010 - 1:27 am

I think you’re right, now that inefficient routes have been eliminated and now that the seriousness of the fiscal crisis is at hand, now they can more seriously push for congestion pricing as a revenue source for the MTA.


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