Fare Hikes, The Last Resort…

October 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

The MTA board approved fare hikes for subway, bus and commuter train this morning. The new price plan, featuring 30-day unlimited MetroCard rise of $25 to $104, 7-day unlimited-ride increase to $29, single ride jump from $2.25 to $2.5 and bonuses on pay-per-ride MetroCards plummet from 15% to 7%, will be carried out on Dec 30th.

In the public hearing, the MTA Board members restated their dilemma again and again. The state cut their fundings. They’ve done anything they can to cut costs. And they are left with the choice of either cut service, or raise fare. The former, which has already caused the loss of two subway lines, the elimination of 36 bus routes and 570 bus stops, and the reduction of service on a dozen more, has come to a point that further doing so would result in a crumbling dysfunctional system. The latter seems to be the choice of the less evil.

“Board member Allan Cappelli criticized state politicians who ‘stole’$160 million in MTA funding to help balance the state’s own budget. ‘If we don’t increase revenues, we are looking at service cuts of a gargantuan nature,’ Cappelli said”, according to Stumbleupon.com.

Living in Beijing for more than 20 years, I’ve never came to appreciate the service sufficiently funded by the government, be it public transportation, education or daily necessities like food, water and electricity. Watching the public hearing on TV this morning made me think about Beijing.

The Beijingers pay $0.3 for the entire ride of subway, $0.06 to $0.5 for buses depending on the route, (the $0.5 is for long distance commute which serves the same purpose as commute train in New York City) and the students get 50% off when taking buses. The national government is making sure that no student should drop out of school (even college) on the reason that they can’t afford the tuition fee and living expenses. Basic daily necessities are also subsidized by the government to stop people from worrying about living a decent life with dignity.

No need to argue the political system, the wellness of its citizens is the single most important thing that any government should strive for, the wealthy and the poor alike (none of the government should be elected only to blackmail certain disadvantaged people). Moreover, If a government could squander $700 billion to rescue and further spoil its banks, then why not help the people who are struggling to survive, the consequence of which, if unattended to, is equally grave if not more.

I’m glad that I’m not a commuter. Otherwise I would buy a bike and ride to school everyday to tackle the rising fare.


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