Tomorrow, I’ll take the subway to work, head into midtown Manhattan for a screening, come down to Williamsburg for Labyrinth at Summerscreen, and then take the G home. That’s four subway rides—and people who move around as part of work, or who have social lives that take them outside of their own neighborhood, or who work multiple jobs, or who balance work with school or childcare, will vouch for the fact that taking the subway more than twice a day is not an unusual occurrence. (I’m generally curious about the numbers here, and wish I had time to do a bit more digging. Anybody? Straphangers?) That’s why we buy unlimited cards.
An MTA budget proposal would cap monthly unlimited cards at 90 swipes, and weekly unlimited cards at 21 swipes, according to the Daily News. If you ride the subway to and from work, stay in on weekends, and have your groceries delivered, you probably don’t care as much about this as I do—but, look. The poorer you are, the more reliant you are on public transit, in general, so this proposal amounts to raising money by soaking the poor, which is I think we can all agree morally dubious and also, in that indirect-benefit sort of way, inconvenient, given the necessity of a mobile workforce to the running of the city. An unlimited card, which lowers the cost of a single subway ride the more you use it, is one small way in which the universal $2.25 fare becomes a less regressive tax.