Wednesday, February 6, 2019

A Case of Congestion

I don't typically travel by taxi, being a dedicated public transportation user. The last time I took a taxi ride in NYC was about a year ago, when I traveled from the Atlantic Avenue subway station to a Wonkette meetup in Red Hook, Brooklyn. I've never used a ridesharing app. That being said, I do try to keep abreast of all sorts of transportation issues in the NY Metro Area. Last weekend, a congestion pricing surcharge was applied to rides from hired motor vehicles, both medallion cabs and app-based ride sharing services. I believe in the principle of congestion pricing, and the application of the funds raised to maintain and improve public transportation. That being said, I believe that medallion taxis should be exempt from the surcharge- taxi medallions, those permits which allow a vehicle to be operated as a taxi, used to be very pricey, but the ascendancy of app based services such as Uber and Lyft have caused them to plummet in value. Since medallion purchases involve a large initial outlay of money, they should be considered a 'prepayment' of congestion costs.

Taxi drivers are having a hard time making ends meet. Last year, in New York City, eight taxi drivers committed suicide, largely due to financial difficulties. The majority of NYC's taxi drivers are immigrants- driving has historically been a good starter job for recent arrivals. Things are looking bleak for the medallion cab industry, by exempting these cabs from congestion pricing, the playing field between the industry and the rideshare app industry can be leveled somewhat.


The New York Crank said...

Let's face it. "Congestion pricing" has little to do with reducing congestion. If the two governments involved (city and state)wanted to reduce congestion, all they had to do was ban — or essentially refuse to license — Uber and Lyft, whose cars clog midtown streets making the situation far worse than it was ten years ago. Or they could pass a law mandating truck deliveries after 5 p.m. and before 8 a.m. They've done neither thing.

Congestion pricing is really about raising money to fix, or at least to patch up a little bit, the crumbling subway system. There used to be a commuter income tax, but the governor won't restore that, because it'll cost him suburban votes. The real estate and sales taxes are already at the point of being burdensome. There's an income tax, but when it comes to raising that what we hear from the mayor is silence, silence. silence.

So with a cowardly governor and a cowardly mayor, the only solution is to pick on taxi drivers and perhaps the occasional car-owning Manhattanite who uses his car only on weekends to get out of town.. That's why it can cost you 25 bucks to go a mile and a half in this city. God help the poor!

Yours very crankily,
The New York Crank

Unknown said...

Hey "Bastard" :), I will be down in the area in a couple of weeks and was wondering if you might be free to meet up for lunch or dinner? JCo