MTA to Outerboroughs: “You’re Not As Important As Tourists”

02/27/2012 1:21 PM |

Lines in the sand
  • Lines in the sand

Tourism is at an all-time high in New York City: 50 million people visited the city last year, the Daily News reports. Perhaps not coincidentally, weekend subway ridership was at almost all-time highs: an average of 5.4 million riders went through a turnstile every Saturday and Sunday (combined) last year, just 200,000 short of the 1947 record. Of course, weekends have traditionally been when the MTA did most of its track-maintenance work, but with this uptick in ridership, the agency now employs a system it calls “Fastrack”: it will shut certain lines down for several weeknights at a time, disrupting service from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

This week, it’s the B, D, F and M lines, which won’t stop at stations between West 4th Street and 57th Street during night hours from Monday to Friday.

Everyone gripes about service interruptions, but of course they’re necessary to the smooth flow of our transit system. (Still, how am I gonna get home from Carrie this week if I can’t hop on the D?! Fuckin’ MTA.) But what the MTA has done here is adjust its operations for the sake of easing the experience of tourists at the expense of outerborough residents—they’ve made life simpler for the visitors, tougher for the residents. Tourism is a huge part of the city’s economy. But so are people who work nights (or commute for other reasons) and have to get back to Brooklyn; wouldn’t it be nice if the MTA looked out for them, since they not only pay fares year-round, but also the state taxes that help balance out the agency’s perpetual budget shortfalls.

4 Comment

  • I’m all for favoring residents over tourism and while I generally like Bloomberg, that’s been one of my biggest annoyances about him as mayor: always stressing how open we are to tourists above most else.

    But a lot of people work weekends too, don’t they? (Or, as you say, “commute for other reasons.”) So when is the correct time to shut down trains for maintenance, assuming that maintenance is necessary? Are there a lot of times in NYC where you can definitively say, OK, hardly anyone needs to commute to and from their job and/or other commitments right now?

    (I’m not being snarky; I’m actually curious.)

    And isn’t the idea behind Fast Track that better to shut down for a few weeknights and get it done quickly rather than several or many weekends over a longer period?

  • The fares keep rising and the weekend and evening service keeps getting shittier for all of us in the outer boroughs. Not to mention the rents. Only the pay has stayed flat this past decade. If you work in Manhattan’s service industry, you’re fucked at every turn.

  • And I want to add that I completely agree with Tony about rising fares and worse service: that’s sucky and I curse the MTA all the time for reasons both justified and kind of petty.

    But, yeah, I don’t really see how disrupted weeknight service is so much worse than disrupted weekend service given the number of people bars and restaurants employ in the city.

  • yeah, people work nights and people work the weekends. There’s no opportune time to stop subway service; you’ll always be inconveniencing someone. I dunno, I guess it just irks me, the idea that we’re shifting the load around the shoulders of New Yorkers to make the burden lighter for tourists; let them shoulder some!