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With gas prices up, MTA ridership goes through roof while roads catch a brake

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With gas prices up, MTA ridership goes through roof while roads catch a brake

BY BROOKE NAYLOR and PETE DONOHUE

DAILY NEWS WRITERS

May 13th, 2008

 

alg_mta.jpg

 

Fewer cars and trucks are chugging through the city while more passengers are squeezing onto subway and commuter trains, thanks in part to rising gasoline prices.

 

Mass transit use in the five boroughs and surrounding counties has been trending upward for more than a decade - but the latest surge in gas prices appears to be providing an additional boost, ridership data indicate.

 

Record or near-record passenger levels set last year by the Metropolitan Transportation Authority's subway, bus and city-suburbs railroad divisions are being surpassed by significant margins so far this year, statistics show.

 

"Gas prices are ridiculous - that's why I'm on the train," construction worker Marie Sullivan, 47, of Long Island, said in Penn Station late Monday afternoon. "It's faster, less expensive and less wear and tear on my car."

 

Another Long Islander at the train hub, mechanic Anthony Ricardo, 30, cursed the high prices at the pump. He also has ditched his car and now commutes daily by train.

 

"It's better," Ricardo said. "It's a matter of time and money for me."

 

And Desha Colon, 33, a computer technician heading home to New Jersey, said, "The subways have always been crowded, but now they're getting worse."

 

Gas prices have forced the Colon family to cancel an annual Memorial Day trip to Maryland, she said.

 

The numbers tell the tale.

 

- The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline in the city is $3.97 - compared with about $3.20 a year ago, according to the Automobile Club of New York.

 

- Drivers in March made 24.8 million trips over MTA bridges and through its tunnels, down 1.9% from March 2007. City-bound trips using Port Authority bridges and tunnels declined 1.5%, from an average of 307,552 each weekday to 303,011.

 

- More than 390,000,000 straphangers rode the subways during the first three months of this year, a 4.9% increase over last year's first-quarter tally. Last year, subway trains carried more riders than any year since 1951.

 

- Metro-North carried 19,691,457 passengers between January and March, while the Long Island Rail Road carried more than 21 million. These are hikes of 5.6% and 5.3%, respectively, over last year. Both railroads are on pace to top their all-time ridership records.

 

"Obviously, there's been an enormous push by gas prices moving people from cars to mass transit, but that's not the only factor," said Christopher Jones, vice president of research at the Regional Plan Association. "The economy is getting weaker, tolls are going up and traffic congestion is getting worse."

 

The future likely holds much of the same painful combination of high fuel prices, intense traffic congestion and rising demand for mass transit, Jones said.

 

"The implication is we need more room and better service on mass transit if that's going to be a viable option for people," he said.

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Another reason why rail needs more rights of way and more service, and higher operating speeds.

 

- Andy

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This is great news and bad news:

 

Pros

-I guess less environmental pollution

-More $ in (MTA)'s pockets

-Transit getting popular

 

Cons

-Extreme overcrowding

-added trains

-added pollution

-

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This is great news and bad news:

 

Pros

-I guess less environmental pollution

-More $ in (MTA)'s pockets

-Transit getting popular

 

Cons

-Extreme overcrowding

-added trains

-added pollution

-

 

Where is the added pollution coming from?

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Where is the added pollution coming from?

 

Brake dust, diesel exhaust, more refuse on trains and platforms. However, reduction in use of gasoline and reduced need for new tires, oil changes etc would offset this.

 

- Andy

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Brake dust, diesel exhaust, more refuse on trains and platforms. However, reduction in use of gasoline and reduced need for new tires, oil changes etc would offset this.

 

- Andy

 

More TA's are going hybrid, so the diesel exhaust won't be an issue. Besides you can crush load 80 people in a 40ft bus, 120 in an articulated. If 2 were to pool in 1 car, that would be 40 - 60 cars on the road. What MTA needs to really do is stop *****-footing and immediately order more artics. It is sorely needed. The M100 needs them now, as it has gotten so bad, we can be 30 minutes late. On Sundays the M101 is unreliable to help out on Amsterdam Ave. We need the extra space. When Clara Hale re-opens, Amsterdam should stay open for buses also. They will need the extra depot....Alot of lines should go articulated. The Bx3, Bx36 (was suppose to be), and if the Bx7 goes to Ludlow in Yonkers, artics should be used there also. The Q44 needs them.

 

I wonder how much does an artic cost over an MCI crusier, and wonder if they are about the same price. If they are close to the same price, why didn't MTA get soft seat artics, which would hold more express bus passengers? Oh wait, this is the MTA.........

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More TA's are going hybrid, so the diesel exhaust won't be an issue. Besides you can crush load 80 people in a 40ft bus, 120 in an articulated. If 2 were to pool in 1 car, that would be 40 - 60 cars on the road.

 

I was talking more about trains, but yea, more busses are needed.

 

- Andy

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