(Long Island, NY) The headlines back in March didn’t look good. “MTA Increases Fares and Cuts Services” wasn’t what any commuter wanted to read, nor was one NY Times article which included a line about the MTA board, saying, “…they could no longer wait for lawmakers in Albany to rescue them.”
I’m a big believer in being proactive. I think the mental picture of the MTA board sitting on their thumbs praying for an Albany miracle is a pretty powerful image. Whether or not it’s a reflection of the truth isn’t my call, but it did inspire me to dream up some ideas on how to “rescue” the MTA. On the other hand, the state legislature’s billion dollar package has been described as a rescue package, so maybe MTA board members really have been using their thumbs as alternative seating arrangements. You decide.
I don’t pay enough attention to the internal workings of mass transportation projects to know for sure. I’m just a wise-cracking columnist trying to make ends meet. But accusing the MTA of being a bunch of do-nothings from afar is both funny (to me) and much more convenient than doing research. So sue me.
Now that “doomsday” seems to be put on hold with the rollback of those MTA service cuts (including the LI Railroad, whew) my grand ideas on saving the rails are moot, but I’m going to share them with you anyway just in case we have to deal with doomsday again in the near future.
I propose we actually STOP MTA trains altogether. We should remove all rail cars from the lines and melt them down for scrap. Then a massive paving project should begin on all lines to accommodate the fleet of state-purchased motor scooters we’ll be renting out at four dollars per day to commuters. The commuters would ride these scooters along the same lines they’d be traveling to get to the old MTA and LIRR stops along the way. Except now there won’t be any waiting. Pay your rental, hop on the scooters and ride away.
What’s that, you say? How would you coordinate such a scheme, make it safe, and above all insure the return of all those scooters at the end of the day? Hey, don’t look at me, I’m just saving the world here, I don’t deal with the logistics.
So maybe that scenario is a bit unrealistic. Just a teeny bit. But what else could the MTA possibly do to avoid the emergency situation it found itself in that required cuts and fare hikes? That’s the real question, isn’t it? Since the MTA can always go running back with its hand out to ask for more tax money or toss another fare hike our way, there’s a question of efficiency that really needs to be addressed. What is the MTA doing besides considering service rollbacks to improve the use of what it already has?
I don’t know the answer to that one. Do you? The thought occurs that perhaps we ought to start asking this question, collectively, to the MTA board on a regular basis. Do they have any answers? We won’t know until we start grilling them.
And I’m guessing they really don’t want us to start.