This is the absolute worst time for the city to raise the price of public transportation fares. While it may be easy for the non-elected to make such claims, the people that are elected are expected to offer some creativity in this situation. The government, both local and national, has been encouraging people to use public transportation ever since oil prices shot up a few years ago. The 30-day unlimited ride metro card will go up from $81 to $103 if the MTA’s now approved plan becomes reality.
Much has gone wrong; the economy tanked in the last year and this is still a very expensive subway system to run. If fares went to $2.50 per ride, although it is pricey, it is still a good deal considering that you can get to almost any place in the city for a relatively low price. The 30-day Metrocard increase, however, is an entirely different ballgame. These are people that are making a commitment to our transportation system on a daily basis. Monthly users are doing exactly what the government asked, and now they stand to be punished.
The Straphangers Campaign has been active in listing alternative plans on their website – such as the Ravich plan – and notifying people as to where hearings will be. But where is the New York State Green Party in all of this? This is an environmental issue that has a dramatic effect on the city. It’s also an issue where there is still room to win. If the Green Party got as involved in this as the Straphangers Campaign, you might see a change in attitude in Albany. This is a golden opportunity for this party to claim legitimacy. Instead, their state website mentions little about the New York City subway fare hikes. Go to their Twitter account (http://twitter.com/gpny/) and you will see comments on things that completely irrelevant to being an environmentalist. A few tweets from the Greens:
· Obama should reverse course and reject Bush-Cheney policies on the drug war, illegal surveillance, executive power, and Social Security
· New York Finds More Votes for President from Last November
Really?! Is this what the NYS Green Party is thinking about? Are they really that concerned with how many lost votes Obama may have gotten? Is anyone disputing that he won? Someone should reach this party – tell them there is a real environmental issue happening in a very popular city.
The focus in this fight should be to fight for a partial victory. Keep the 30-day Metrocard at $81 a month. It encourages people to use the system more often. If they use the TransitChek Program, they can have their employers take that money from their earnings tax free. It’s a little bit of help.