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  #161  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 11:29 AM
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11/18/2009 05:10 PM
Riders Spared In Latest MTA Budget
By: Bobby Cuza



While the city and state continue to grapple with major budget shortfalls, the news over at the MTA is surprisingly less grim. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority's 2010 budget, presented to board members Wednesday, is devoid of any big surprises.

Thanks to the $1.9 billion a year bailout approved by Albany back in May, and the fare increase that took effect in June, a major financial crisis has been averted.

"This budget has no service cuts. It has no fare increases. So that’s a positive thing," said MTA board member James Sedore.

But there is potential trouble ahead. The MTA is currently in court fighting an arbitrator's decision to give transit workers 11 percent raises over three years -- a move that would blow a massive hole in its budget. Facing his own budget crisis, Governor David Paterson has proposed cutting state aid to the MTA by $115 million a year.

"I think overall the MTA remains in a very, very fragile financial position," said MTA Chairman & CEO Jay Walder.



Walder says the agency can no longer count on help from Albany. In order to restore its credibility, he also says the agency must make fundamental changes to the way it does business from top to bottom.

"We have to look at everything. We have to look at the procurements, we have to look at the staffing, we have to look at the maintenance," Walder said. "We have to look everywhere that we can be more efficient in what we’re doing."

"For 2010, it looks like we’re reasonably stable, and that’s good news for the rider," said William Henderson of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA.

While fares will hold steady through next year, the reprieve doesn't last long. As announced earlier this year, the MTA still plans to raise fares by about 7.5 percent on January 1, 2011.



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  #162  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 5:06 PM
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Originally Posted by NYC4Life View Post
While fares will hold steady through next year, the reprieve doesn't last long. As announced earlier this year, the MTA still plans to raise fares by about 7.5 percent on January 1, 2011.
They could double fares and they would still be far less than the cost of driving.

Owning and operating a car can cost more than $600 per month - much more if you have a luxury car. A 30 day Metro pass costs $89, or less than $3 per day.

Is it reasonable for fares to be this low when transit agencies all over the country are facing huge deficits? I think cities like NYC - where you truly can get around without a car - should greatly increase fares to keep service where it should be and to finance needed improvements. It may hurt low income people - they could compensate for this by offering a low income monthly pass for those who make less than the Federal poverty level.
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  #163  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 5:15 PM
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They could double fares and they would still be far less than the cost of driving.

Owning and operating a car can cost more than $600 per month - much more if you have a luxury car. A 30 day Metro pass costs $89, or less than $3 per day.

Is it reasonable for fares to be this low when transit agencies all over the country are facing huge deficits? I think cities like NYC - where you truly can get around without a car - should greatly increase fares to keep service where it should be and to finance needed improvements. It may hurt low income people - they could compensate for this by offering a low income monthly pass for those who make less than the Federal poverty level.
While it's not the most politically correct thing to do, another option would be to have higher fares for rail than bus. It's not so common in the western hemisphere, but in dense Asian cities it's not uncommon for the richest to drive, the middle class to take rail transit and express busses, and the lower classes to take local busses. It's not like the subway is hurting for riders or competing with cars for cost effectiveness. Raise the prices as much as they need to be raised for proper subway service, but leave bus fares low for the poor.
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  #164  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 6:01 PM
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They could double fares and they would still be far less than the cost of driving.

Owning and operating a car can cost more than $600 per month - much more if you have a luxury car. A 30 day Metro pass costs $89, or less than $3 per day.

Is it reasonable for fares to be this low when transit agencies all over the country are facing huge deficits? I think cities like NYC - where you truly can get around without a car - should greatly increase fares to keep service where it should be and to finance needed improvements. It may hurt low income people - they could compensate for this by offering a low income monthly pass for those who make less than the Federal poverty level.
This is a ridiculous idea. What do operating deficits in other transit agencies have to do with the MTA, particularly since the MTA has one of the highest percentage of operating costs covered by fares?

You want to reduce deficits, how about actually pass on the costs of driving to drivers? That $600 number you mention doesn't actually cover the cost of government services provided to drivers. How about eliminate the subsidies drivers are given? Drivers don't pay special fees to pave roads, clear snow from roads, control road traffic with signals and police, repair bridges, etc, etc, etc - that's all paid out of general funds from taxes levied on everyone. How about instate a driver fare?
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  #165  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 6:06 PM
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While it's not the most politically correct thing to do, another option would be to have higher fares for rail than bus. It's not so common in the western hemisphere, but in dense Asian cities it's not uncommon for the richest to drive, the middle class to take rail transit and express busses, and the lower classes to take local busses. It's not like the subway is hurting for riders or competing with cars for cost effectiveness. Raise the prices as much as they need to be raised for proper subway service, but leave bus fares low for the poor.
This wouldn't do much in NY since very few buses travel between boroughs. Most everyone traveling from, say, Queens to Manhattan would still need to take the subway, rich and poor alike. And buses don't travel between boroughs because the geography of New York funnels traffic into choke points at bridges and tunnels which wouldn't be able to handle the vast increase in bus service needed to transport the poor.
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  #166  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 7:08 PM
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This wouldn't do much in NY since very few buses travel between boroughs. Most everyone traveling from, say, Queens to Manhattan would still need to take the subway, rich and poor alike. And buses don't travel between boroughs because the geography of New York funnels traffic into choke points at bridges and tunnels which wouldn't be able to handle the vast increase in bus service needed to transport the poor.
Good point, I wasn't thinking about the bridges and tunnels.
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  #167  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 7:58 PM
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11/19/2009 10:21 AM
New Rules Apply To Hudson River Airspace



New rules go into effect today for aircraft flying over the congested Hudson River airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration finalized regulations, which will require pilots to use separate airspace corridors.

Aircraft being handled by air traffic controllers will fly above 1,300 feet.

Pilots who wants to fly over the area without air traffic control must stay between 1,000 and 1,300 feet.

Local planes and helicopters, including those on sightseeing tours, will be restricted to fly under 1,000 feet.

The new rules also call for southbound air traffic to stay on the New Jersey side of the river and northbound aircraft to hug the Manhattan side.

The changes are in response to a deadly collision between a sightseeing helicopter and a small private plane in August that killed nine people.



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  #168  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 8:06 PM
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Updated 11:09 AM
Port Authority To Reportedly Eliminate Cash Tolls



The Port Authority is reportedly working on a plan to eliminate cash tolls entirely.

The Daily News reports the agency would photograph the license plate of drivers without E-ZPass and send a bill to their homes.

Port Authority Commissioner Sidney Holmes told the Daily News the plan would speed up traffic, and that the cameras would help get toll beaters to pay up.

However, the New York Civil Liberties Union says photographing license plates would be a privacy nightmare.

It is unclear if the issue will be put up for a vote at today's Port Authority board meeting.

The cash tolls would be eliminated on the George Washington, Bayonne and Goethals Bridges, the Holland and Lincoln Tunnels and the Outerbridge Crossing.

No time frame has been established for installing the system.

Today's board meeting will also discuss development at the World Trade Center site.



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  #169  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 8:08 PM
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Updated 1:24 PM
FAA: Flight System Back To Normal

The Federal Aviation Administration says that its flight computer system is back to normal after glitches caused nationwide delays this morning.

Flights at airports across the country, including the three major New York City-area airports, were delayed or cancelled after a glitch in the system that automatically processes flight plan information.

Air traffic controllers were forced to enter flight plans manually, which caused the entire system to slow down.

City area airports only reported minor delays.

The world's busiest airport, Atlanta's International Airport, was most affected by delays.

FAA officials say there were no problems with controllers' radar data or voice communication, so airline safety was unaffected.

The FAA urges travelers to check with airlines for delays before heading to the airport.




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  #170  
Old Posted Nov 19, 2009, 8:12 PM
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11/18/2009 09:57 AM
Bus-Only Lanes Planned For Manhattan's East Side



The push to bring quicker bus service to Manhattan's East Side appears to be in the fast lane.

Bus-only lanes are coming to First and Second Avenues next September – with one lane reserved for each avenue from 125th Street to Houston Street.

The Department of Transportation next month will unveil detailed plans for the lanes, which are set to include technology to change traffic lights green when buses approach.

The DOT may also place barriers along some parts of the avenues to keep cars from invading the bus lane, and may install MetroCard readers on sidewalks to speed up boarding. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority says the agency is buying dozens of longer buses, with three doors instead of two to also speed the process.

The plan would be the second of its type, following the BX12 route between Manhattan and the Bronx.



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  #171  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2009, 1:16 AM
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Updated 12:38 PM
First Gridlock Alert Day Is Here



Today is the first gridlock alert day of the holiday season and people are advised to use mass transit.

The next gridlock alert day is the day before Thanksgiving, November 25th.

The other gridlock alert days are December 2nd, 4th, 11th, 16th, 17, 18th, and 23rd.




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  #172  
Old Posted Nov 21, 2009, 1:20 AM
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Updated 10:48 AM
Shared Taxi Pilot Program To Launch Next Month
By: NY1 News



A plan for shared taxi rides in the city is close to launching.

The Taxi and Limousine Commissioner says the pilot program should be ready to roll out next month.

The plan announced and approved in May allows cabs to take multiple passengers at a flat rate from designated pick up spots during the morning rush. Passengers can be dropped off on the way downtown, with no pickups allowed along the way.

Pickup locations are expected to be 57th and Eighth Avenue, and 72nd Street at both Third Avenue and Columbus Avenue.

The plan is being billed as a way of clearing congested streets, saving riders cash, and earning drivers more money.




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Old Posted Nov 21, 2009, 1:26 AM
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Updated 6:04 PM
Deadline Passes For Pedicab Registration
By: NY1 News



Today marked the deadline for pedicab operators to register their businesses with the city.

More than 150 businesses have applied for 844 licenses to operate the pedicabs.

Today marks the end of a 60-day period owners were given to complete the applications.

Much like cabs, licensed pedicabs are being given medallions, signifying they have been inspected, are safe to operate and have posted rate cards.

"The department has really been out there for weeks doing everything we can, frankly for months, everything we can to make sure that anybody's who's in the pedicab business who intends to stay in that business, knows what is expected of them in the law,” said Department of Consumer Affairs Commissioner Jonathan Mintz. “Most importantly, they need to make sure that they are accountable to the public, and that their pedicab vehicles are safe."

Over 300 drivers have also applied for licenses to drive pedicabs. Those licenses are separate from the ones to operate a business, and will still be available after today's deadline.

Industry estimates say there are thousands of pedicabs on the road.





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  #174  
Old Posted Dec 12, 2009, 6:18 PM
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Updated 11:23 AM
Broke MTA May Eliminate Subway Lines, Bus Service



The cash-strapped Metropolitan Transportation Authority is looking at massive budget cuts next year, and straphangers could end up losing some subway lines and bus routes completely.

An MTA source told NY1 on Friday that the W and Z subway lines are on the table for complete elimination and the G and M subway lines could also be shortened.

Riders might also face increased waiting times for trains at midday, decreased night subway service and the closing of four subway stations at night.

Overnight service may be eliminated on 25 bus lines, weekend service may be eliminated on 41 bus routes and another 21 bus routes may lose all weekday service.

Earlier this week, the agency said a new payroll tax meant to shore up its finances brought in about 20 percent less than what the state forecast, resulting in a $200 million shortfall.

Jay Walder, the MTA's new chairman, is faced with closing a $340 million budget gap for next year. The deficit comes after New York State officials slashed transit funds by $143 million because of their own fiscal challenges.


In Astoria, Queens, which is serviced by the N/W train, straphangers said the existing subway service is already lacking.

"We wait long enough for our N/W train already. There are tons of people who live in this area and we need two trains," said one resident of Astoria, Queens.

"Twenty, 25 minutes just for the train to get here. End up being late for work if I don't leave early enough. And that's with the N and the W, so imagine with just one train," said another local.

"You would think that a competent agency would look for a train in an area with declining ridership. Astoria is perhaps the most vibrant, growing neighborhood in the entire city with one antiquated train line going in and out," said Queens Councilman Peter Vallone. "We need better service and more service, not service cuts."

The New York Times reports that Walder has ordered a 10-percent salary reduction for $6,000 non-union employees, including himself.

The New York Daily News reports the agency is thinking about ending free transit passes for city students.

The MTA is expected to unveil its full list of proposed service changes on Monday.




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Old Posted Dec 13, 2009, 5:39 PM
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WCBS-TV

Dec 13, 2009 11:41 am US/Eastern
MTA May Cut Free Student MetroCards To Save Budget


NEW YORK (CBS) The Metropolitan Transportation Agency may try to ease its budget woes by eliminating free MetroCards for students.



The cash-strapped agency was reportedly considering a plan to charge students half fares in 2010 and full price in 2011.

Critics said the MTA shouldn't balance its budget at the expense of the City's students.

"Who in their right mind would suggest punishing children whose only crime is getting up in the morning and going to school?" said Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer.

Student travel funding once covered by the city and state was slashed in the mid-90's and until now, the MTA covered the balance of the discounted fare program.

Services cuts also were likely for New York City's public buses and subways after a court decision that supported wage raises for transit workers. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority lost its appeal of wage arbitration on Friday when a State Supreme Court judge ruled to support a 11.5 percent increase over three years for the Transit Workers Union.

The agency that runs buses, subways and suburban rail lines says wage hikes will add hundreds of millions of dollars to the budget.

An umbrella group for the City's unions said it welcomed the decision.

The MTA board was to meet Wednesday to pass an $11 billion budget for 2010 -- while trying to plug a $343 million budget gap.

The board has pledged not to raise fares, but is likely to cut service.

That decision was angering New York City residents. If certain bus routes are eliminated in this city, Ellie and her father would have to walk an extra five blocks to nursery school every morning in this bitter cold. "Learn how to manage your money ... like the rest of us," Cary Rosenwald said.

Even though the MTA got a state bailout it is still financially challenged. Two entire subway lines, the W and the Z, may be eliminated. Four subway stations would also be shuttered overnight on the Manhattan Broadway line at City Hall, Cortlandt and Rector Streets and also the Downtown Brooklyn Lawrence Street Station. On top of that, 21 bus routes in four boroughs would get the ax.

Among the 21 bus routes at risk is the M-30, which has a very loyal ridership.

"I'm not sure how I'd get to work. I'd have to take two or three different buses, walk an extra 10 blocks in the cold? It's the best bus actually," rider Charles Guadano said.

"I take it twice a week. It's a great bus for what it is," rider Rita Brand added.

As many as 25 other bus routes, including the M-79, may have overnight service from midnight to 4 a.m. eliminated.

When asked what he will do if that ends up being the case, Paul Rothstein said, "Take the East Side trains down and cross that way." He later added going that route will be a real hardship.

All the MTA spokesman would confirm was: "We still intend to stick to the fare increase schedule that doesn't include one in 2010."

That was the only bit or good news for an angry ridership.

According to an MTA spokesman, the agency's budget proposal does not at this time include any services cuts on Metro North or the Long Island Rail Road.




© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.
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  #176  
Old Posted Dec 13, 2009, 6:53 PM
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According to Wikipedia, NYC MTA has 11,574,566 riders every week day, or 3,009,387,160 riders every year, not including weekends.

Quote:
$343 million budget gap

That works out to about $.11 per ride, or $.22 per day per person assuming an average of two trips per day.

If they raise the price of passes $5.00 and single ride fares $.11, they should have enough to make up the shortage.
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  #177  
Old Posted Dec 14, 2009, 7:00 PM
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From NYMag's "Reasons to love NY 2009"


43. Because We Keep Digging



Beneath Second Avenue near 91st Street, December 3.
(Photo: Patrick J. Cashin/MTA)


You almost don’t want to say it, for fear of tempting fate, but it’s real. Conceived 80 years ago, funded and canceled twice, surviving even last year’s financial calamity, a subway line is creeping down Second Avenue. Yet even if you live with the construction noise and dust, the scale of the beast has been hidden. This photo, shot on December 3, brings it home. The cavern you see on these pages is four blocks long.

You’re looking at the south end, beneath East 91st Street. Begun in June, scheduled to be finished in February, the space will serve as the launch area for a huge tunnel-boring machine that will chew its way down to 63rd Street.
The workers at right are drilling holes and packing them with explosives, for further blasting. The crew at left is breaking up rock for removal. Underground work goes on 24 hours a day, seven days a week. As Con Ed used to say, “Dig we must.”

The first run of the T train, as it will be called, is way off, and the whole thing could still go to hell. Opening day has already been pushed back from 2015 to 2017. The budget (about a third from the Feds, the rest from the state) has edged up to $4.4 billion, and just last week the MTA announced yet another shortfall. In the seventies, we actually did quit midway, after three bits of tunnel were built for this line. But this time, even when the economy cratered, we kept at it—armed with bond issues, dynamite, and our abiding optimism.

Read more: Because We Keep Digging - Reasons to Love New York 2009 -- New York Magazine http://nymag.com/news/articles/reaso...#ixzz0ZguLrFwY
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  #178  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2009, 4:38 AM
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What's next after the Second Avenue line is built? Is this the end of the road for subway construction?
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  #179  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2009, 4:53 AM
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According to Wikipedia, NYC MTA has 11,574,566 riders every week day, or 3,009,387,160 riders every year, not including weekends.

That works out to about $.11 per ride, or $.22 per day per person assuming an average of two trips per day.

If they raise the price of passes $5.00 and single ride fares $.11, they should have enough to make up the shortage.
Um, no. According to the MTA, the agency provides 8,739,680 rides per weekday, but that includes the subway, city buses, two suburban railways and a suburban bus system. MTA NYC Transit, which is just the subway and city buses, provides 7,626,264 rides per weekday.

http://www.mta.info/mta/network.htm
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  #180  
Old Posted Dec 15, 2009, 1:36 PM
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What's next after the Second Avenue line is built? Is this the end of the road for subway construction?
"After" the T line is completed is a long way out. But it's not likely to be an end of subway construction, the metropolitan area keeps getting denser and there are areas that have grown far faster than the current subways can support (F and L lines for example). My guess is that there will be additions of stations every 10 to 15 years, and a major line constructed every 50-100 years.

But who knows, maybe there will be some major advancement in tunnel boring machines automating them even further that will cheapen and shorten the process. That would change things significantly.
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