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BrooklynBus

Today is the first anniversary of the devastating bus cuts

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Today is June 27, which marks exactly one year since the MTA implemented the most devastating bus service cuts in New York City history. It is one of the reasons why bus ridership continues to decline while subway ridership is rising. My extensive criticism of these cuts months before they were actually made when few realized how devastating they would be was also is the first time Sheepshead Bites mentioned my name.

 

Many may have not agreed with the actual cuts that were made, but it was also widely acknowledged that due to the MTA’s budget situation some cuts were unavoidable. That was due to Albany raiding funds that were dedicated for mass transit. The Transit Lockbox Act was passed by the Senate and the Assembly last week to make it much more difficult for Albany to continue this practice in the future. It would be good news, but the wild card is Governor Cuomo. While being an outright proponent for gay marriage, which he signed into law this past week, there are no indications that he will do the same for the Transit Lockbox Act.

 

Read more: http://www.sheepsheadbites.com/2011/06/mta-no-more-cuts-please/

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WOW! That was a great blog! :tup: I've been arguing that service cuts do exactly what you explained in your blog and others keep calling for more cuts, but as you stated, more cuts discourages ridership and decreases the MTA's overall revenue. I think it is a good thing that they are now implementing reviewing bus service every 3 months and making adjustments where needed, BUT service decreases should only be made when absolutely necessary, so as to continue to foster more ridership. Afterall, the (MTA) is in the business to see ridership increase, NOT decrease, so slashing service should always be a last result.

 

The savings should be used to increase or expand service elsewhere. I'm also curious how breakdowns are effecting ridership. As I mentioned in another thread, the (MTA) is increasing express bus service on Staten Island during the weekends, but I don't know if it will help improve service if they so many MCIs breaking down. It won't help with the overcrowding that is becoming a frequent problem now on the X10 and X1, so my question is does the (MTA) analyze fleet issues when studying service increases?

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I wouldn't be surprised if more big cuts happen either next year or within the next few years.

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I support the MTA for their service cuts. If nothing else, it's helping the fight against obesity!

 

Instead of walking about two blocks every day and using the X90, I now walk about two and a half miles each day using the so-called "alternative" known as the 6 train.

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I support the MTA for their service cuts. If nothing else, it's helping the fight against obesity!

 

Instead of walking about two blocks every day and using the X90, I now walk about two and a half miles each day using the so-called "alternative" known as the 6 train.

 

Oh stop it. Why aren't you going to use Jazumah's service if you want your X90 back??? I personally wouldn't care who is running it so long as the buses are clean, ontime and reliable.

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Oh stop it. Why aren't you going to use Jazumah's service if you want your X90 back??? I personally wouldn't care who is running it so long as the buses are clean, ontime and reliable.

 

Of course I'm going to use it next year, assuming that there's no legal issues with it like last time.

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You should be fighting obesity on your own merit.

 

 

Anyway, Good blog Brooklyn Bus.... but I'm more interested in, and will wait for part 2; regarding why the MTA's OP is jacked up...

 

to borrow FG's term, "band aid" solutions (if we can even call it that) got us to where we are today... let's see where & what the route (root) of the problem stems from.....

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WOW! the (MTA) is increasing express bus service on Staten Island during the weekends, but I don't know if it will help improve service if they so many MCIs breaking down.

 

:pHmmm, so are they really increasing or just the illusion? ;)You know the MTA tricking the public every day!:eek:

 

Enjoy the weekend service increase, hopefully you be able to have a seat!

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Oh stop it. Why aren't you going to use Jazumah's service if you want your X90 back??? I personally wouldn't care who is running it so long as the buses are clean, ontime and reliable.

 

Unless I'm mistaken, the city shut down his X90 service, even though there was nothing wrong with it.

 

These cuts suck. The Q74 should have never been eliminated. Now there's no direct bus route from Queens College/CUNY School of Law to the Queens Blvd lines. The closest direct route is the Q64, and it's a long walk to Jewel Avenue. The Q75 should have been kept as a rush hour-only route (like the Q42). It actually had decent ridership during rush hour. The X90 should have been kept as well. As much as I like the M15 SBS, 1st and 2nd Avenue can get congested. There's also the comfort of riding an express bus. The X32 elimination sucked. The genius kids who live in Queens and attend Bronx Science have to ride freaking cheesebuses to school. That's not right.

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Unless I'm mistaken, the city shut down his X90 service, even though there was nothing wrong with it.

 

These cuts suck. The Q74 should have never been eliminated. Now there's no direct bus route from Queens College/CUNY School of Law to the Queens Blvd lines. The closest direct route is the Q64, and it's a long walk to Jewel Avenue. The Q75 should have been kept as a rush hour-only route (like the Q42). It actually had decent ridership during rush hour. The X90 should have been kept as well. As much as I like the M15 SBS, 1st and 2nd Avenue can get congested. There's also the comfort of riding an express bus. The X32 elimination sucked. The genius kids who live in Queens and attend Bronx Science have to ride freaking cheesebuses to school. That's not right.

 

Agree and disagree with your post:

 

Q74/Q75: I agree that cutting both was a little over the top; they could've both stayed as rush hour only routes. however, as a compromise, if one route absolutely had to have been cut, I would've cut the Q75 completely since you've got other routes in the vicinity (the 17/27/88)

 

X90: Heavens no please do not bring back the X90. I'm a pretty frequent express bus taker myself and while I enjoy the comfort, ride, and atmosphere of the express bus, you have to be reasonable. The X90 was an unreasonable route.

 

X32: I'll never get over this one. You could say that "oh, eliminating a route with, what, 4 runs isn't going to have much of an effect" but on the flip side, it is the choice that these kids made to go to Bxsci. To play devil's advocate, they do have another excellent school, Townsend, right by their doorsteps.

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Ironically, I was accepted to both Bronx Science and Townsend Harris. Science is the better school, but it's not as much of a difference as people think. I wound up going to Brooklyn Tech, which to this day I regret. I agree that if it was a choice between the Q74 and Q75, I'd cut the Q75 and keep the Q74.

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WOW! That was a great blog! :tup: I've been arguing that service cuts do exactly what you explained in your blog and others keep calling for more cuts, but as you stated, more cuts discourages ridership and decreases the MTA's overall revenue. I think it is a good thing that they are now implementing reviewing bus service every 3 months and making adjustments where needed, BUT service decreases should only be made when absolutely necessary, so as to continue to foster more ridership. Afterall, the (MTA) is in the business to see ridership increase, NOT decrease, so slashing service should always be a last result.

 

The savings should be used to increase or expand service elsewhere. I'm also curious how breakdowns are effecting ridership. As I mentioned in another thread, the (MTA) is increasing express bus service on Staten Island during the weekends, but I don't know if it will help improve service if they so many MCIs breaking down. It won't help with the overcrowding that is becoming a frequent problem now on the X10 and X1, so my question is does the (MTA) analyze fleet issues when studying service increases?

 

It decreases revenue, but there is still a net savings. For example, they plan to reduce S44 Saturday service to run every 30 minutes Saturday mornings instead of every 20 minutes. I'm sure that some local riders will resort to taking other forms of transportation (or walking) to their destination (though it does connect with the ferry better on 30 minute headways than 20 minute headways), but overall, there is a net savings.

 

The MTA isn't in the business to see ridership increase or decrease. It is in the business of providing a reasonable amount of service to suit the needs of its riders.

 

Unless I'm mistaken, the city shut down his X90 service, even though there was nothing wrong with it.

 

These cuts suck. The Q74 should have never been eliminated. Now there's no direct bus route from Queens College/CUNY School of Law to the Queens Blvd lines. The closest direct route is the Q64, and it's a long walk to Jewel Avenue. The Q75 should have been kept as a rush hour-only route (like the Q42). It actually had decent ridership during rush hour. The X90 should have been kept as well. As much as I like the M15 SBS, 1st and 2nd Avenue can get congested. There's also the comfort of riding an express bus. The X32 elimination sucked. The genius kids who live in Queens and attend Bronx Science have to ride freaking cheesebuses to school. That's not right.

 

The city shut down his old X90 service, but he's found a loophole in the law that allows him to run the service (I don't mean to make it sound negative, because this is a good thing), so he's going to start it up again.

 

The Q64 and Q88 are both within a reasonable walking distance of Queens College, even if they don't directly serve the school.

 

As far as the kids going to the Bronx High School of Science go, I don't think that private company going to the school runs school buses: I'm pretty sure they run coach buses.

 

And in any case, at $26.52 per person, it just wasn't worth running the bus when a competitor offered more departure options at a similar price: rather than $50 per week for the X32, it was $2,200 per year for the private company: (Which I think was Veolia)

 

Agree and disagree with your post:

 

Q74/Q75: I agree that cutting both was a little over the top; they could've both stayed as rush hour only routes. however, as a compromise, if one route absolutely had to have been cut, I would've cut the Q75 completely since you've got other routes in the vicinity (the 17/27/88)

 

X90: Heavens no please do not bring back the X90. I'm a pretty frequent express bus taker myself and while I enjoy the comfort, ride, and atmosphere of the express bus, you have to be reasonable. The X90 was an unreasonable route.

 

X32: I'll never get over this one. You could say that "oh, eliminating a route with, what, 4 runs isn't going to have much of an effect" but on the flip side, it is the choice that these kids made to go to Bxsci. To play devil's advocate, they do have another excellent school, Townsend, right by their doorsteps.

 

The Q74 had the Q64 and Q88 as alternative routes to the subway. If I had to make a choice, I would've kept the Q75, since provided a more direct route to the QB express trains and served an area further from the subway.

 

The X90 actually had a decent number of ridership and cost only slightly more than the average express route. Part of the logic that they used when they eliminated it was that they were going to implement +SBS+ on the M15 within a few months to provide an alternative.

 

Like I said, there is a private company that provides service to the Bronx High School of Science that serves the same areas as the X32.

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It decreases revenue, but there is still a net savings. For example, they plan to reduce S44 Saturday service to run every 30 minutes Saturday mornings instead of every 20 minutes. I'm sure that some local riders will resort to taking other forms of transportation (or walking) to their destination (though it does connect with the ferry better on 30 minute headways than 20 minute headways), but overall, there is a net savings.

 

The MTA isn't in the business to see ridership increase or decrease. It is in the business of providing a reasonable amount of service to suit the needs of its riders.

 

Are you serious?? The overall goal is to see ridership increase. What gave you the impression that they are in the business to do anything else???

 

I would seriously like you to explain your thinking on this one.

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Are you serious?? The overall goal is to see ridership increase. What gave you the impression that they are in the business to do anything else???

 

I would seriously like you to explain your thinking on this one.

 

They only have a certain amount of funding available to run the service, because Albany and NYC didn't provide them with enough money. Therefore, their goal is to get the most bang for their buck in terms of using their limited funds to serve as many people as possible.

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They only have a certain amount of funding available to run the service, because Albany and NYC didn't provide them with enough money. Therefore, their goal is to get the most bang for their buck in terms of using their limited funds to serve as many people as possible.

 

I'm sorry but no transportation company runs service like that. They are a business, even if they're providing service for the public. They are in business to see the system grow even though they know that they have to run on a balanced budget. They understand that a healthy ridership base means a healthier (MTA) which benefits EVERYONE. I don't know why you can't see that. If you keep reducing service even if it gives a net savings it is a bigger loss in the long run because you discourage ridership. Stop thinking about savings for once and look at the big picture. Did you read Brooklyn Bus' blog?? Even he states that in his blog that cutting services in the long run discourages and decreases ridership. That is no good for anyone. You may think so but it isn't.

 

Have you stopped and thought about the consequences of what happens when a route is completely cut or reduced ASIDE from the savings?? It goes far deeper than just people being inconvenienced.

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I'm sorry but no transportation company runs service like that. They are a business, even if they're providing service for the public. They are in business to see the system grow even though they know that they have to run on a balanced budget. They understand that a healthy ridership base means a healthier (MTA) which benefits EVERYONE. I don't know why you can't see that. If you keep reducing service even if it gives a net savings it is a bigger loss in the long run because you discourage ridership. Stop thinking about savings for once and look at the big picture. Did you read Brooklyn Bus' blog?? Even he states that in his blog that cutting services in the long run discourages and decreases ridership. That is no good for anyone. You may think so but it isn't.

 

Have you stopped and thought about the consequences of what happens when a route is completely cut or reduced ASIDE from the savings?? It goes far deeper than just people being inconvenienced.

 

Just because he said that it reduces revenue (to the point where it is cheaper for them to run the service) doesn't necessarily make it so.

 

And they already have a healthy ridership base. The last time I checked, 7 million daily riders is a pretty healthy base.

 

I highly doubt that eliminating a low-ridership route with alternatives is going to as negative an impact as you are alluding to. Yes, those people are inconvenienced, but if it is something that generates tax revenue, they'll figure out another form of transportation to get there, because they're (the passenger/taxpayer) getting money off from it as well.

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Just because he said that it reduces revenue (to the point where it is cheaper for them to run the service) doesn't necessarily make it so.

 

And they already have a healthy ridership base. The last time I checked, 7 million daily riders is a pretty healthy base.

 

I highly doubt that eliminating a low-ridership route with alternatives is going to as negative an impact as you are alluding to. Yes, those people are inconvenienced, but if it is something that generates tax revenue, they'll figure out another form of transportation to get there, because they're (the passenger/taxpayer) getting money off from it as well.

 

And just because they say that every cut they make brings them net savings isn't so either. And I suppose you don't think it discourages ridership or decreases ridership either?? You can't argue on that one. Ridership is certainly down on the buses overall since the cuts were made.

 

Now that I understand your whole thought process I have to say it isn't at all logical. If you seriously think that a business comes about just because you are really kidding yourself. The point of any business I don't care who they are serving is to GROW, otherwise there is no point of being in business. You make it sound as if the (MTA) is around as a charity or something which is just laughable.

 

You keep alluding to those "low ridership" lines like the (MTA) didn't really cut anything. You are so disillusioned about the whole thing. Maps and stats and numbers and savings. That's all you see. How many of these lines have you actually rode or used??

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And just because they say that every cut they make brings them net savings isn't so either. And I suppose you don't think it discourages ridership or decreases ridership either?? You can't argue on that one. Ridership is certainly down on the buses overall since the cuts were made.

 

Yes, I would say that every cut brought them a net savings, even if those passengers fled the system entirely. If you're spending $10 to carry a passenger that's paying $2.25 (an exaggerated example, but it proves my point), you'll save money even if the passenger decides to completely abandon the MTA.

 

Of course, $10 per person isn't the norm for the routes that were eliminated, but you get the idea: Most of the fairly cheap routes that were eliminated had alternatives, so the ridership loss wasn't that great. The expensive routes that had no alternatives (like the Q79) still most likely provided a net savings even though the passengers left (even though a reduction like the elimination of the Q79 I wouldn't support because it left people with very few alternatives)

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Yes, I would say that every cut brought them a net savings, even if those passengers fled the system entirely. If you're spending $10 to carry a passenger that's paying $2.25 (an exaggerated example, but it proves my point), you'll save money even if the passenger decides to completely abandon the MTA.

 

Of course, $10 per person isn't the norm for the routes that were eliminated, but you get the idea: Most of the fairly cheap routes that were eliminated had alternatives, so the ridership loss wasn't that great. The expensive routes that had no alternatives (like the Q79) still most likely provided a net savings even though the passengers left (even though a reduction like the elimination of the Q79 I wouldn't support because it left people with very few alternatives)

 

Okay, sure an immediate savings, but over the long run that abandoned customer doesn't bring you a net savings and that's the point. That customer could bring other customers thus generating more revenue in the long run, so in the end overall it is a loss. You seem to think that the (MTA) has the luxury that it can just slash service and that all will be well. What makes you think that??

 

Take me for example. I recently got rid of my AT&T datacard which is saving me $60.00 a month plus tax. I had the service for a good three years so at $60.00 a month, that's at least $2,160 of monies for AT&T not including any other overage charges or referrals. That's why they were so pissed when I canceled the service. Sure they got an early cancellation fee from me of $125.00 or whatever it was, but the overall picture is that they're losing thousands of dollars for that $125.00 over the years, so it isn't really a gain for them but a loss.

 

Also do you know how they come to the conclusion that they have a net savings? What calculations do they base their net savings on??

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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Okay, sure an immediate savings, but over the long run that abandoned customer doesn't bring you a net savings and that's the point. That customer could bring other customers thus generating more revenue in the long run, so in the end overall it is a loss. You seem to think that the (MTA) has the luxury that it can just slash service and that all will be well. What makes you think that??

 

Take me for example. I recently got rid of my AT&T datacard which is saving me $60.00 a month plus tax. I had the service for a good three years so at $60.00 a month, that's at least $2,160 of monies for AT&T not including any other overage charges or referrals. That's why they were so pissed when I canceled the service. Sure they got an early cancellation fee from me of $125.00 or whatever it was, but the overall picture is that they're losing thousands of dollars for that $125.00 over the years, so it isn't really a gain for them but a loss.

 

Also do you know how they come to the conclusion that they have a net savings? What calculations do they base their net savings on??

 

I think the elasticity of demand is lower than people are making it out to be. I don't think that, all of a sudden those few riders are going to tell all of their freiends "Hey, look at how convenient this bus service is. We should all use it to commute".

 

So I just don't see how these reductions can cause a net loss, even in the long run. The only way would be if suddenly a big development project came to an area and provided tons of ridership to the buses in the area, but I just don't see that happening (most of the areas where this is happening are close to Manhattan and the good transit service in/near it anyway)

 

As far as their net savings go, according to their service reduction booklet:

 

"Annual operating savings in the sections that describe each service reduction are expressed as net annual savings. Net annual savings for each service reduction is the direct operating cost savings less the estimated decrease in passenger revenue."

 

Of course, the problem that BrooklynBus has is that he feels that they are underestimating the loss of revenue (and I do agree with him on that, though I can't think of how far off they are)

 

By the way, instead of deleting the post, you could've edited it to incorporate my quote.

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I think the elasticity of demand is lower than people are making it out to be. I don't think that, all of a sudden those few riders are going to tell all of their freiends "Hey, look at how convenient this bus service is. We should all use it to commute".

 

So I just don't see how these reductions can cause a net loss, even in the long run. The only way would be if suddenly a big development project came to an area and provided tons of ridership to the buses in the area, but I just don't see that happening (most of the areas where this is happening are close to Manhattan and the good transit service in/near it anyway)

 

As far as their net savings go, according to their service reduction booklet:

 

"Annual operating savings in the sections that describe each service reduction are expressed as net annual savings. Net annual savings for each service reduction is the direct operating cost savings less the estimated decrease in passenger revenue."

 

Of course, the problem that BrooklynBus has is that he feels that they are underestimating the loss of revenue (and I do agree with him on that, though I can't think of how far off they are)

 

By the way, instead of deleting the post, you could've edited it to incorporate my quote.

 

The problem was I was trying to do that and somehow posted again, hence the delete. I told you that I can't use the multi-quote feature (really needs to be made easier) so I copy and paste and use the back button. The thing is you kept adding stuff, so it screwed me up, Mr. Cost savings. ;)

 

Anywho, I'll believe it when I see it. We both know that we can't really trust the (MTA)'s numbers, either do to error or just fudging the numbers. It's hard to believe anything that an agency says when they've been accused on several occasions of having two sets of books. :eek:

 

Aside from that, let's use your family as an example. Now you've stated that sometimes you guys all travel together via public transit. Imagine your line was cut and you had no other alternatives but to use the car. I wasn't necessarily referring to friends per se but family.

Edited by Via Garibaldi 8

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The problem was I was trying to do that and somehow posted again, hence the delete. I told you that I can't use the multi-quote feature (really needs to be made easier) so I copy and paste and use the back button. The thing is you kept adding stuff, so it screwed me up, Mr. Cost savings. ;)

 

Anywho, I'll believe it when I see it. We both know that we can't really trust the (MTA)'s numbers, either do to error or just fudging the numbers. It's hard to believe anything that an agency says when they've been accused on several occasions of having two sets of books. :eek:

 

Aside from that, let's use your family as an example. Now you've stated that sometimes you guys all travel together via public transit. Imagine your line was cut and you had no other alternatives but to use the car. I wasn't necessarily referring to friends per se but family.

 

Sorry about that (the editing the posts, which I did just now to this one)

 

I'll agree with you about not being able to completely trust the numbers (but not because they've been accused of two sets of books because that myth was disproven twice). I think the cost savings were overestimated: For example in the service reductions packet, it says that the S60 discontinuation would save approximately $0.4 million. However, according to my calculations (using their cost-per-passenger estimates), the discontinuation would save $436,000 if every passenger decided to use another MTA-run route. As we both know, there was very little alternative to the S60 because of the hill, but I don't think they took that into consideration (though, admittedly, they could've already paid a fare on the S53, S61, S62, etc)

 

Like I said, it isn't the cost-per-passenger and ridership stats that I really disagree with, though the problem is that they took the numbers from the farebox, and some drivers don't count farebeaters (let's not debate this). It is their logic that they used (saying two routes were close when they weren't, overestimating the net savings, and things like that), so in that sense I agree with you.

 

The last example really wouldn't apply to a whole lot of people (There are 3 routes to St. George within what I would consider a "reasonable walking distane", which is about 3/4 of a mile, not to mention 2 express routes). If all of the routes were discontinued, we'd probably just not travel (if the trip were to Manhattan. If it were to The Bronx or Queens where driving is easier and cheaper, we'd probably use the car). In any case, you're right that we wouldn't give the MTA the revenue.

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They only have a certain amount of funding available to run the service, because Albany and NYC didn't provide them with enough money. Therefore, their goal is to get the most bang for their buck in terms of using their limited funds to serve as many people as possible.

 

This is spot on. The MTA is a government-run social service, not a business. They do not have the freedom to set prices to spur demand for popular services or discourage demand for unpopular services. Revenues do not cover the cost of operations and the authority is dependent on many, many non-users to subsidize this deficit. They are given a limited budget and are expected to balance the needs of their many constituents. Management certainly recognizes that more riders equals more revenues and will try to grow patronage but they have strict limitations which often ties their hands.

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This is spot on. The MTA is a government-run social service, not a business. They do not have the freedom to set prices to spur demand for popular services or discourage demand for unpopular services. Revenues do not cover the cost of operations and the authority is dependent on many, many non-users to subsidize this deficit. They are given a limited budget and are expected to balance the needs of their many constituents. Management certainly recognizes that more riders equals more revenues and will try to grow patronage but they have strict limitations which often ties their hands.

 

That's correct, but the point is their goal is to see ridership grow, otherwise they're not really meeting the needs of their many constituents now are they?? If you have more and more pockets of areas with no service or very few service options, then you aren't meeting the people's needs, which is clearly a problem. Even with a ridership base of 7 million people you still have over a million people that need to be dealt with in terms of moving those people in a very congested city and ideally you would want fewer of these people driving their cars to ease congestion.

 

Those folks still have to be moved and if it is difficult to move more and more people because a lack of transportation in a city like New York, then clearly everyone suffers, because everyone feels the congestion no matter who you are. Now of course they can't make everyone happy, but the point is to move as people as possible using public transit.

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