Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Monday, May 11, 2021

fair fares
After a mad scramble of negotiation in Albany, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority finally passed across-the-board fare hikes today:

As part of a financing deal approved by the State Legislature last week, the base subway and bus fare will rise from $2 to $2.25 on June 28 — instead of $2.50 — and the authority will avert layoffs. Commuter railroad fares will rise on June 17. And tolls on the bridges and tunnels operated by the authority will rise on July 12.

The threshold for obtaining a 15 percent bonus on pay-per-ride MetroCard will rise to $8 from $7. The cost of a seven-day unlimited-ride MetroCard will rise to $27 (instead of $31) from the current price of $25. The cost of a 14-day MetroCard will rise to $51.50 (instead of $59) from the current price of $47. The cost of a 30-day MetroCard will rise to $89 (instead of $103) from the current price of $81.

A vast majority of commuter rail tickets on the Long Island Rail Road and Metro-North Railroad will increase between 9.75 percent and 10.75 percent. Cash and E-ZPass tolls on the M.T.A. bridges and tunnels will increase by about 10 percent.

Hard to believe we’re celebrating a 10 percent rise in the price of a MetroCard swipe. But that’s the result of a conditioning to an expected doomsday scenario of 20+ percent hikes, accompanied by draconian subway and bus service cutbacks. So naturally, anything looks good compared to the former worst-case scenario.

The darker side of this is that it’s pretty much a short-term solution, as it doesn’t address how the system will fund itself beyond the next year or two. Basically, the ridership pain is deferred while there’s still a recession on, with the hope that the economy will recover enough by 2011 or so for another whack at substantial fare increases.

I can certainly live with an extra quarter tacked onto my subway ride. It means extra mental math when figuring out how much to reload onto the MetroCard, but them’s the breaks.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/11/2021 09:49pm
Category: New Yorkin'
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For once, the ACLU delivered their uncompromising message of context-free free-speech defense with some aplomb. In response to a tussle over censorship in Colorado vanity license plate approvals, the state chapter turned a self-deprecating moment into an illustrative object lesson:

When [state Sen.] Greg Brophy joked that he wanted to get a vanity plate for his car that says ACLUSUX, the Wray Republican got a letter from the head of Colorado’s American Civil Liberties Union.

“If you apply for that license and are refused, please contact the ACLU because we stand ready to represent you if you want to pursue your right to have that license plate,” director Cathryn Hazouri wrote.

Of course, you could avoid the messy legal advocacy fight altogether and simply opt for a virtual vanity plate via the ACME License Maker. But it would be a bitch to drive around with a JPEG tacked to your bumper.

by Costa Tsiokos, Mon 05/11/2021 09:15pm
Category: Politics, Society, Wordsmithing
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