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Express bus fuss: Hold fare at $5 because riders lack other options, Bloomberg tells


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Mayor Bloomberg has told the MTA board members he appoints to look for ways to save express bus riders from sweeping planned fare hikes and service cuts, sources said.


The mayor wants the four city-controlled board members to push to keep the express bus fare at $5 and limit service reductions, even as subway and commuter rail riders face big looming fare hikes, sources said.


Bloomberg has told aides that express bus riders should get priority because they often lack readily available transit options to get to and from their jobs in Manhattan.


Most express routes are between Staten Island and Manhattan. They also serve far-flung neighborhoods in Brooklyn, eastern Queens and the Bronx.


Mayor Bloomberg's spokesman, Stu Loeser, refused to comment.


The Metropolitan Transportation Authority board, which has 14 votes, is expected to adopt a Draconian 2009 budget next week.


A preliminary spending plan called for express bus fares to rise to $7.50, a 50% increase. At least eight express bus routes face schedule cuts or elimination under the austerity plan released last month.


The same budget plan also calls for a 23% increase in the revenues the MTA receives from other fares and from tolls.


Commuter train passes are also expected to rise by more than 20%.


The board has not yet determined how much to hike the prices of the various subway and bus MetroCards, including single-ride tickets, paying with coins on buses and weekly or monthly unlimited-ride cards.


The $2 base bus and subway fare is expected to rise to $2.50 or possibly $3. It was untouched by the two most recent systemwide hikes.


The plan is designed to plug a massive $1.2 billion gap in the MTA's operating budget.


Some of the cuts could be averted if a transit bailout plan released last week is adopted.


A panel headed by former MTA Chairman Richard Ravitch proposed a new payroll tax paid by employers in the MTA's 12-county region, along with tolls on the now-free East River and Harlem River bridges.




December 8th 2008

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This isn't due to sympathy for the riders. This is due to the fact ridership would drop so low that the express routes would be shut down. Anyone who could easily afford a daily $15 round trip would be driving. $10 is pushing it already. $8 really is the ideal price considering the conveinence and comfort of the current buses. In fact, I even thought so when the price was less.

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Hmmm...this is a good one. Bloomberg really wants to invoke class warfare...preserving express buses while denying local service to people just because a subway line runs over it (even when people cannot use the subway).


This is why I will not be voting for Bloomberg in 2009, and will be urging others to do the same, because not only is Bloomberg a partial cause of the problem; he is looking to exacerbate it.


There are 10 express bus lines that should be kept running only in a doomsday scenario (SHOULDER: 1-2 hours on either side of the peak):


X1 (peak, shoulder, midday, evening, weekend)

X10 (peak, shoulder, midday)

X17 (peak, shoulder, midday)

X22 (peak, shoulder)

BxM1/2 (peak, shoulder, midday, evening, weekend)

BxM7 (peak, shoulder, midday, evening, weekend)

QM1/1A (peak, shoulder, midday, evening, weekend NOTE: All service except peak and shoulder would be via Harding to North Shore Towers ONLY)

QM2 (peak, shoulder, midday, evening)

QM24 (peak, shoulder)


Ideally, the X17 middays should be replaced with midday S89 service running every 30 minutes between 34 St HBLR and Eltingville Transit Center.

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I disagree with Bloomberg's statement. However, that's not justification for the scapegoating of express bus riders. If the subway performed the way it's supposed to then you wouldn't need express buses. However, many parts of the city are isolated from the subway or have poor subway service. There are a few useless express bus routes (X20, X29, X51) but 80% of the express routes deserve to run. Eliminating the express buses wouldn't save enough money to stave off a budget deficit. It is merely a means of punishing express bus riders who choose to ride a comfortable form of transportation over an inadequate subway.

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