August 24, 2010

Whiny Freeloaders

"It sucks. New York has the best public transportation, but it's fading. Maybe I'll just ride my skateboard."

—Gideon Blumenthal, New York City subway frequent rider

Why is Gideon Blumenthal mad?

It seems that the MTA—the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, the body that runs New York City's subway systems and buses—is contemplating some steep toll hikes. For those of you unfamiliar with the MTA, you shouldn't be. After all, one of the first actions by the Democratic majority running the state Senate was to ram through a bailout, by a 32-29 vote, of the poorly-run New York City agency. At state taxpayer expense, of course. Which, er, probably means you, even if you've never had the distinct pleasure of riding on a New York City subway.

So, Gideon Blumenthal, and many other subway riders, are mad today because the monthly cost of riding the subway may go as high as $130.

In other words, Gideon Blumenthal is mad because someone else isn't going to be stuck with the tab to pay his way in life anymore.

We realize that to many of our readers, $130 sounds like a lot. But let's put that number in context: it's what people who don't own, or need to own, cars are paying to travel all over New York City and out into Long Island. We don't know what you pay for your car, but we would guess your monthly car payment is somewhere between $350 and $500 if you're driving a no-frills reliable family sedan with a 4- or 6-cylinder engine. And maybe another $70 or so a month for insurance. And around $150-$200 a month in gas. Plus the occasional trip to the car wash. Plus oil changes. Plus tire rotations. Plus new tires every 60,000 miles or so. Plus new headlights, windshield fluid, alignment jobs...we could go on.

The point is, you pay for the full cost associated with owning your transportation here in the more rural stretches of New York State. Why should people living in New York City, the Sewer with a ZIP Code, not be expected to pay their own freight as well? And why on earth should you have to pay for their ride?

No doubt, New York State's current leaders will find a way to spare Gideon Blumenthal his pain, but really, we'd be just fine with him riding his skateboard.

Especially if the alternative is continuing to make us pay for Gideon Blumenthal's subway token.

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