Posted on September 04, 2009
Tired of paying $2.25 for bus fare? We certainly are. But if New York’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg has his way, transit riders on crosstown buses will get a break--the mayor has proposed that all crosstown buses be free. The plan makes sense: It would both encourage ridership (fewer cars; good for the environment) and ease people's financial burden (good for people’s wallets and psyches.) Bloomberg explained that by drivers not having to collect fares, they would be able to load and unload passengers much more quickly. Many crosstown bus riders are already using the subway, so not much revenue would be lost. (Crosstown buses are also arguably among the slowest in the city.) Any lost revenue, Bloomberg argued, would be made up by faster travel times, which would allow fewer buses on those routes. Bloomberg has proposed a number of transportation-related incentives in recent weeks as part of his re-election campaign, but the MTA, oddly enough, is not subject to much control by the mayor (he controls 4 of the 14 votes on the board.) The proposed incentives have included reopening several Long Island railroad stations in Queens and extending the V line from the lower east side into Brooklyn. Whether the mayor actually has the power to put any of these initiatives into effect remains to be seen--but using the word "free” to lure voters in an election year is often a good ploy.