Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Blame The Passengers

I found this at the New York Daily News website yesterday, and it made me think of how inequitably public transportation is managed.

Here we have the New York Transit Authority (a/k/a MTA) fining passengers who pay two dollars to ride a mismanaged system; but the private corporations who have been given tax dollars to maintain the cleanliness of tracks, stations, and rolling stock ignore their duties, underpay their under-staffed workers, pocket millions in profit and walk away unmolested.

I think it is the privatized services that are a problem for the MTA, not the passengers!

Walking fine line on the subway
Tix blitz for going between cars


Police are slapping more summonses on subway riders who ride or walk between cars, statistics reveal.

The NYPD's Transit Bureau issued 590 tickets for such violations during the first three months of the year.

At that pace, nearly 2,400 straphangers will get ticketed for the noncriminal offenses by the end of the year - which would represent a threefold increase over 2005.

"There is a great potential for injury when walking or riding between subway cars. By targeting this behavior the NYPD is contributing to a safer system," Transit Authority spokesman Charles Seaton said.

"It's all part of ongoing crimefighting, and quality-of-life and safety enforcement, aboveground and below," Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne said.

Riding between cars has long been a violation of the TA's rules of the rails. In December, the TA added walking from car to car to its list of prohibitions. Fines range from $25 to $100.

Martin Cruz, 16, who was crossing the cars of an E train last week was unaware of the rules. But the Bronx high school student said they have some merit.

"Some people might not have good balance and fall to the side," Martin said.

The Subway Entertainers, a group of four underground dancers, disagreed.

"I think it's unfair," group member Russell Steele, 30, of the Bronx, said on the E train. "If you're in a car and there are no seats, you should be able to walk to the next car, especially after work."

Transit officials point to sometimes deadly accidents involving people riding or walking between cars. From 1995 to 2005, 13 riders were killed and more than 100 were injured in falls from trains.

Police also are handing more tickets to riders sipping unsealed nonalcoholic drinks, like coffee and water.

Cops issued 64 such tickets the first three months of the year, compared with 17 during the corresponding time period in 2005. The beverage ban - which carries a $25 fine - has been on the books for years but is rarely enforced.

Overall, subway summonses are down about 20% this year, which some attribute to the increased police visibility during heightened terror alerts.

Originally published on April 17, 2006

As you read above, the reason people cross into another subway car is that one car is full and the other is not-as-full. Why would you fine somebody for taking a step that was better for everyone involved?

The "conservatives" who have had a stranglehold on our government for 25 years keep doing the same thing: blame the customers for the failings of the industry, then penalize the customers because the spotlight must be deflected from failed privatization and stolen tax dollars.

The problems on the subway are not the fault of the passengers!

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