What attracted me to this OpEd was the graphic that went with it, five white and blue lines on black sketches of public transportation vehicles in New York City, viewed from the top with the roofs cut away. Inside is show the passengers on a single trip, with notes. The passengers are circles with an "x" in them. Nearly each human being was provided with a short note about him or her (bus drivers were shown, but no notes provided). Here is a PDF of the artwork.
The words to go with the sketches lay out the situation with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). As the OpEd says:
... the Metropolitan Transportation Authority faces a $1.2 billion deficit. And on Wednesday, the M.T.A. ratified a doomsday plan to increase the fare for a single ride by 50 cents, to $2.50, and to eliminate or reduce service on 100 bus and five subway lines.Thus, the need for a fare increase or for a tax increase, either for the City of New York or the State of New York. The other option is for the Federal Government to print money.
Per Wikipedia (explained here), the MTA is a large operation, averaging 11,000,000 passengers on weekdays. Its toll bridges and tunnels carry some 800,000 vehicles on that same average day. It is a big operation.
Assuming that some of the 800,000 vehicles carry more than one person, the deficit looks to be about $100 per passenger. That would be about 40 cents per work day. As is usually the case when I read the news, the numbers bother me. If it really is 40 cents a day (given the $1.2 billion number is correct), why 50 cents a ride increase? I sent the MTA an EMail. My reference number is "090329-000050". I am guessing that means I am the 50th EMail inquiry today. If I get an answer I will post it as a "Comment."
I am sympathetic to the two authors, Miranda Purves and Jason Logan. The current economic crisis (I can't bring myself to call it a "Depression" just yet, but it is one very serious "Recession") will not turn around quickly if it becomes harder for people to go about their daily tasks or travel around their locale to find work. On the other hand, someone has to pay. In the case of the MTA, that would be "rate payers," those who own property, as the story itself says.
Being a mayor or governor in these times is tough. It is a period of testing.
Regards -- Cliff
Douglas Sussman, Director, Community Affairs, responded to my EMail at 0750 this AM and said he would try to get me an answer from the experts.