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Theorem Ox

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  1. If New York City is fortunate enough not to experience major catastrophic events (to the extent where tabula rasa might be possible or there's a substantial depopulation) and lifestyle + technology does not change in a way that's not even conceived today, I suspect near future residents will have to spend a lot of time and money just undoing some of the mistakes being introduced now. And from my prior frequent travelling experience, I agree that the proposed Woodhaven/Cross Bay changes is looking likely to be one of them. I feel that the status quo is serviceable enough (maybe some further concessions can be made to better accomodate pedestrians and bicyclists in some spots). The transit planners (at least for those who actually care about their public remit and not living off of their own hubris) will definitely be in a tough spot, though to some extent caused by their own previous decisions and actions. They're trying to drive progress on the reliability/speed of the bus service by stepping on the accelerator (enforced bus lanes, off-board payments, etc.) while slamming the brakes at the same time (Vision Zero rules come into play as they're operating on the same roadway - intentional poorly sync'ed traffic lights, build-up of vehicular traffic from reduced driving lanes which there will be inevitable spillovers, etc.). They'll certainly succeed in generating loud noise from the engine, burning rubber and wasting gas. Now, I don't suppose there will be surprised individuals on why there's no substantial improvements despite the "investments" It's a slightly different system from the few other discussion boards I tend to participate in. I'm still calling you out: I didn't junk your post because I disagreed with what you wrote. There is no argument from me that BrooklynBus can be quite the contrarian at times and sometimes can dwell on being critical with certain things longer than I think is necessary. That said, he does regularly bring up interesting points and angles on transit issues - sometimes "unpopular" viewpoints at that and things that some of us (at least those who do not automatically believe the party line on everything) might not have the courage to say so openly. And you know what, I tend to find merit in much of what he says even if I don't necessarily agree with everything line-by-line. I took exception with you (and a few other commentators here) attacking the OP more and not so much on the idea(s). Now that's what really lowers the maturity and progress of discussion. If you're interested in raising the level of discussion, I have an idea for you: How about adding your own thoughts related to those raised by BrooklynBus or refuting specifics with what you think he got wrong instead of harping on the author's (recent) past and broad attacks that trivializes any merits of the thought presented? Mind you, I know we're not writing academic research papers - no need for comprehensive citations, numbers and formal writing to make a fair point. I look forward to reading better stuff from you going forward, as I have in the past (as a lurker)
  2. I agree, we are already standing up for transportation. Maybe they're looking for people to stand on the roof of trains and buses? (Hey, maybe the city can do a two-fer! Never let a revenue opportunity go to waste.) The city does have some very interesting priorities when it comes to budgeting and decision making indeed. Working as a NYC public school teacher in the past, I noticed that the city has "no money" to replace outdated textbooks, provide basic school supplies and hire a qualified full-time teacher (instead of churning substitutes, dismissing them before a day or two before they're eligible to get long-term sub pay). They did have plenty of money to pour into closing down large schools and re-opening several small ones in their place (and pay the higher salaries for administrators and extra overhead) and acquiring real estate for charter schools (while existing schools don't get enough funding to maintain their buildings). The city has "no money" to properly repair roads and infrastructure - especially when we are very dependent on trucks to maintain supply chains (who among us can live without food?). But they sure do have plenty of money and time to pour asphalt to make speed bumps, dump paint and concrete to eliminate travelling lanes. And the best part is when they leave the potholes large enough to bottom-out trucks and crumbling overpasses intact on the very same roads they just made their "improvements." Feel free to visit my old neighborhood where I grew up for an exhibit - Sunnyside, Queens. I'll be shocked when the city claims to have "no money" to chip in for sensible public transportation enhancements. Plenty of money for questionable politician pet projects and police misconduct payouts.
  3. Hey listen, I'm sure that Delta and US Air considers you a "needy idiot" the next time you dare think (much less speak to one of their employees) about missed connections, missing luggage and long delays on the tarmac. I mean, what do you possibly expect from public air transportation? If I routinely confiscate YOUR MONEY on threat of imprisonment/gunpoint (call it a "tax" or a "fee" if it makes you feel better) under the guise of providing a "public service" that you may or may not use AND duly fail to deliver on that (or otherwise do a miserably poor job of it), would the whole situation sit well with YOU? Yeah, you'd happily fork over more money without a single comment or thought the next time I come back for more, wouldn't you? You personally might have no standards and expectations, but speak ONLY for yourself. Tables can turn quicker than you think. --- It's painfully evident that the operating company has virtually NO control over employees that are running amok and making a mockery of the company's missions and goals. The company shows generally POOR grasp of the needs of core customer ridership - constantly screwing around with routes and schedules, more misses than hits. One would think that if they're in above their heads, they should GET OUT OF THE RING! But I'm sure there's a lucrative enough reason why they're still sticking around despite all the pummeling from the public and the lack of "official help" from Nassau County. (I'm thinking "off the books").
  4. I had a chance to ride Bus 1019 running on route N20L on Friday. Not because I wanted to, but because the donkey driving the modestly full (about 5 standees on my count spread throughout) N21 about 12 minutes earlier didn't feel like stopping at Northern & Middle Neck. Apparently, that particular driver is notorious for doing that according to what I overheard from the 2 others waiting at the stop with me. --- The engine is definitely quieter - looks like Foothill's contractors did a better job maintaining than the MTA and Nassau ever will. Highback cushioned seats with armrests throughout. The seating configuration is definitely not suitable for accommodating many standees, especially if the bus is operating at a crush load. I expect to see exposed styrofoam and heavy soiling in short time if maintenance's track record holds. Passengers were having a hard time opening the back door. The doors open inward and it looks like there was no air assist mechanism (or otherwise not operational) judging by how hard everybody was laboring with the vertical mounted pushbars to open.them. --- I got a better idea for NICE's acronym... Never Intended Contention (for) Excellence. I'm glad I don't have to ride out to Nassau now as often as I once did.
  5. I'm happy that the minimum wage increase was passed in principle, but unintended consequences are always a killer. (The cynical and intelligent among us might even have a legitimate case in arguing that the very same consequences may not be not "unintended" and accidental after all. There's something of a historical precedent...) I'm generally not a betting man, but if I were to make a bet on how the consequences of this minimum wage increase will play out, it'll be this: - Government agencies and businesses primarily supported by/catering to government agencies (large corporate owned stores generally would fall in this category too, as corporations today are largely supported by government) will do just fine. Some of them might raise a stink at first, but will settle down once another issue has grabbed the public's attention. - Businesses primarily serving the general public will end up laying off employees to reduce payroll AND/OR go out of business if their businesses require substantial labor to operate effectively. Many of them will raise a stink and will probably never recover once things gather momentum. When one group of people have to work (generally hard) for their wealth and there's another group of people who can simply "print" it into existence, it's not going to end well for the majority of the muppets (like me and probably like you as well).
  6. Nassau Bus' online payment system is clearly more of a novelty at this point aiming at a small niche of their ridership and truth be told, I don't think it'll ultimately progress much further than that. If it's any omen - they're certainly not providing all that much incentive for general rider buy-in during its inauguration period. If past performance is any good at predicting the future, Nassau County and Veolia will probably be sticking to this one long past its expiration date. Just opining here: $50 is quite a large upfront pre-payment to get the effective Metrocard PPR price. One can get the same effective price per ride for as low as $9.52 in stores or $11.90 at the booth / MVMs. (Plus any cash back rewards one can get on top as part of a credit card transaction if planned and acted on strategically). The cash fare may be likely to go up later this year, but at the moment, it is still cheaper and about as equally functional at $2.25 (actually more useful if you end up transferring to an MTA operated bus in Queens immediately afterwards). --- Regarding 2.25 hours of unlimited rides - Two line of thoughts for this: Cash rider have the general advantage here again. The clock gets renewed every time a transfer is issued. Nothing really there to stop passengers from requesting more than two transfers on a single fare if they can get the routing and timing to work for them. How many NICE buses can you realistically ride in 2.25 hours at the end of the day? Most of Nassau's routes run infrequently. When they do run more frequently during rush hours, they're often overcrowded and skipping stops anyway. Though I would imagine it may be useful if you're making stops at several neighborhoods down Hempstead Turnpike and vicinity.
  7. Well, one would reasonably think that it would be the (relatively) easier and cheaper option to roll out considering the existing set-up that offers quite a bit of improvements on the customer's end until a better system can be put in place. I've heard arguments against SmartLink in the past that I could understand (sometimes at a stretch), but I don't buy most of the points that you specifically raised in your post. I'm not going to dissect everything you wrote point-by-point, but I will say this: Anybody who has lived in the NYC metropolitan area for some length of time knows how territorial each agency is (and sometimes that territorialism can reach the point of outright antagonism). This can even be openly seen in operating divisions within each agency by the general public. Perhaps the occasional time you might see some cooperation is in cases of catastrophic disaster. I view the slow rollout and the immediate out of hand dismissal of SmartLink as more of a pissing match between the agencies and as a reluctance to cede an inch of their own fiefdom. I would buy the argument that it may not be the best long term solution (not unlike the current Metrocard in use today), but it is a logical intermediate step given the current infrastructure in place which offers significantly more opportunities to improve the customer experience and allow for that better system to be developed over time. You can leapfrog in technology, but there are limits on how big of jump you can realistically make... I suspect you're quite right about all this being "by design." Nobody really seems to think much about "unintended consequences" until it's too late. The way that the MTA is approaching this foreshadows that some of them will be quite negative indeed... I hope not. If they do for anything other than regional rail, it will likely mean an erosion of current privileges that we enjoy today.
  8. Yep, I saw that bus on Friday afternoon at HTC. I heard somebody on the bus say "Damn, are they that desperate with buses to pull out that rusted hunk of junk?"
  9. His eyesight is probably fine. The ridership profile changes depending on the time of day. Speaking with some of my past elderly neighbors (many lived and worked in NYC during the 70's and early 80's), they said riding through some of the rougher neighborhoods on the subway was just fine during traditional rush hours. Just don't get caught dead getting off at those stops or riding in the non-rush, off-peak hours.
  10. Indeed. What appears to be NICE's take on deadheading buses: The buses will be able to get to the origin point of a route faster and depart close to on time there because it will not picking up revenue passengers along the way. What will likely be the case on deadheading buses in practice: Buses are still subject to the same road congestion and poor stoplight timings as they would if they were in revenue service. Many of NICE's routes that serve the western half of Nassau have at least one origin point that can only be accessed via roads that can get heavily congested (with few to no alternative practical routes to get there). Their thoughts may hold true in the earlier part of rush hour, but will be wishful thinking at best in the thick of rush hour. In the case of the N1, the dwell time for passenger pick-ups and drop-offs were often trivial in most of the time I've ridden that route from Merrick Rd. to 179 in the PM Rush. The argument they made for discontinuing revenue reverse peak service is the very same argument I'd make to advocate continued service there. Why not make a few more passengers happy and take in an extra few bucks when deadheading will not save all that much time and gas to begin with? Must be that famous NICE (Never Intended Contention [for] Excellence) logic.
  11. See if the Metrocard Vending Machines will offer you a free replacement first. Select "Refill Card" and insert your expired card. You will see a message that will ask if you want to trade in your card. Select "Yes" and see what happens. So far, none of the agents in the token booth I've spoken to were willing to exchange cards if the card did not already have some cash value (even as low as one cent, one agent told me) in it when it expired. However, a few agents keep discarded Metrocards (but otherwise not physically expired or deactivated) on hand inside the booth that they give out free to people who specifically ask for it as a courtesy. If the MVM denies you the exchange, you don't want to deal with an agent and you really want to sidestep the fee, I'd recommend that you shell out a few bucks and buy a card from an out-of-system vendor (no fee for the new card that way). Use up the value if feasible and then load the pass onto that card.
  12. You probably can't see the rear platform of a low-level bus with your mirrors very well especially if the front is full. But potential passengers outside sure can and you can bet they won't be happy to hear that you aren't letting them board despite some standing room available back there. Be careful with the tit-for-tat escalation games. (You may not see it like that, but there will be others observing your actions who will see it that way even if they're personally disgusted with the actions of the passenger in question as well). I'm sure you've already noticed this (and probably more than I do since you deal with a larger cross-section of the public than I do in my field of work), but there are more people than ever before with nothing left to lose or have one last thing left to lose. This isn't the mid-90's or mid-2000's anymore. You pull that off on the wrong person (or group of persons) and you might end up moving after all... though not necessarily in your bus. In the heat of the moment, that pissed off (group of) passenger(s) is quite satisfied delivering the comeuppance to the idiot driver who just painted a huge target on himself. The hell with everything else. You also can't count on other passengers coming to your aid before the police do either, especially if they also see you as the jerk who played a key role in starting the confrontation and escalating the problem. I genuinely hope that you'll never have to put your armchair quarterbacking to the practical test where you work.
  13. I know that the MTA has long planned on phasing out Metrocards, but even I thought that they should have installed machines (even if it's the card-only variants) at major LIRR hub stations with substantial bus service back when they operated LIB. Quoted for truth. Of course, it's a rare day when all machines are fully functioning for that matter. I haven't been to HTC in a while, but from memory it always seemed like at least one or two machines didn't accept credit/debit cards OR accepted only coins. (I stopped purchasing/refilling cards at HTC after one of my credit cards got skimmed at the machines there.) Looking at MTA's Metrocard Merchants Locator for Nassau County, the vendors are spread out rather thinly across the island and not necessarily all in convenient locations either. From experience, many of those vendors maintain limited stock with very limited choices of denominations/unlimited ride options. Also, many do not accept cards (or strongly discourage it) as a method of payment either.
  14. I would gladly ride a train to Woodhaven+Metropolitan in Glendale/Rego Park, to Little Neck over Northern Blvd., to New Hyde Park over Union Turnpike or to Floral Park off Hillside Avenue on the train with a subway fare. Too bad the subway doesn't run anywhere near those places. Too bad it costs more than an express bus fare with no transfer privileges or discounts if I want to take the LIRR on a WEEKDAY when I actually travel to some of those places (plus some of them are quite a bit of a walk from the nearest stations as well) Wasn't a bad idea on paper, but it's a pity it fell apart way too quickly in practice.
  15. Vistausss, I'd like to think that the city of Almere (at a casual glance on the map, seems to be within easy commuting distance from Amsterdam proper) is a nicer place with a better standard of living than suburban communities of the New York metropolitan area. Many communities in Long Island today are a far cry from the 1950's/1960's suburbia American dream that you can see in documentary films. There ARE people out there who see the minimum 7 years in prison as a better deal than a "lifetime in hell" for the driver. Thankfully, they are a relative fringe minority now, but I don't think it'll stay that way for much longer. As the economy and quality of living continues to deteriorate for the vast majority of the population here, there will be more and more people who will begin to see imprisonment as the "better alternative" to "freedom." A roof over one's head, three square meals a day plus free basic healthcare. As opposed to one month away from eviction, one meal a day (occasionally two), free healthcare only for emergencies and no realistic job prospects once one gets fired from the current job. It only takes ONE "excuse" for people to snap and to beat somebody senseless in order to get that "lifestyle change" Digressing here: You should do your own research and come to your own realistic conclusion on this, but the cumulative actions of bankers and politicians around here have all but guaranteed a indefinite, continuous decline for anybody not connected to and benefiting from their shenanigans. (Life is just fine for the bankers, corporate executives, politicians and those "lucky" enough to be able to generously leech off the government around here, but they sure aren't the majority of the population and many are oblivious to the lives of those who don't have as much power and "wealth" as they do). That is, until something big shakes up the world as we know it. History has a way of repeating itself, albeit with a new twist each time. Unfortunately, any shock here in the United States will ultimately affect you guys over there. (I wish I could say that I'm just messing with you, but I couldn't make this stuff up even if I tried!) In spirit, I'm with you on this. My personal opinion is that potential victims should be able to neutralize threats and within certain limits, turn the tables on an aggressor as deterrence without penalty (limits because otherwise, we would all end up "justifiably murdering" each other on any perceived slight) But actually doing that in reality (in the United States at least), will end up becoming more of a liability than an asset to whoever attempts it - especially if it's done while on the job. If the overzealous state prosecution doesn't want to make an example out of you by pressing criminal charges (despite you committing your actions through a course of self-defense), you're still not exempt from civil lawsuits especially from the aggressor. Your employer definitely won't keep you around long either - they are perturbed about being named in the civil suit along with any bad publicity that would come from all this. People with jobs requiring them to deal with the general public are basically sitting ducks in that respect. Those who want to keep playing the game are better off remaining calm and preventing the situation from escalating in the first place. Since I wasn't there myself, I'd like to hear more from eyewitnesses other than the cameraman and the driver before making any judgments. Playing as the devil's advocate: Perspective does matter sometimes. Consider this: Where was the cameraman positioned relative to the action? You have a large blind spot to the cameraman's sides and rear. If somebody on the bus or outside of the bus (plausible since Franklin Av / NHP Rd. is a major stop along the N6) has been dialing 911 away from the field of vision of the lenses, you won't be seeing (and likely not hearing it either) that on the video!
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