Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Subway And The Mayor

As Michael Bloomberg attempts to run a city thought by many to be the center of the universe, it is easy for you to see the magnitude of his failure by using New York City's public transportation system.

Of course, his apologists will tell you that the unions are to blame, that the subway doesn't run because of the drivers and conductors. As a commuter, it appears to me that the drivers and conductors are actually doing their jobs, but management hasn't a clue how to run a railroad; as, clearly, Mr. Bloomberg has no idea how to run a city.

The subway is a mess:

Cars that originate in the outer boroughs are packed full long before they get anywhere near Manhattan.

Cars are dirty, with sticky floors, filthy windows, and poorly adjusted public address systems. I have seen cockroaches on F and V trains three times in two days, having not seen them on a subway car for a very long time.

The artificial-strawberry room deodorizer used to change the smell of filthy cars, creates its own cloying stench that makes breathing on even the shortest ride a challenge.

Trains are randomly declared 'express' trains, bypassing stations and leaving commuters stranded on outside platforms, even on bitter cold days.

Entire lines (9) have been eliminated or shortened (Q, G, B), while unneeded bastard lines that go half-way to almost nowhere have been put in place and fail to do anything but delay the lines on whose tracks they are squatting.

Construction and repairs are done during the day, instead of overnights, which impacts the ability of the workers to move the commuters from place to place.

The cost of riding the subway increases while the government (busy bailing out billionaires and providing tax breaks to corporations) cuts funding for this most fundamental part of civilization and commerce. And the dialog continues to include discussions of further service cuts and reductions.

At the same time, Hizzoner sits on his throne and insists that people should be using public transportation instead of automobiles. He insists that a congestion tax will make the city a better place. That reducing traffic in the city is a smart plan. And he is correct: people should use the subway, automobile traffic should be reduced and the city will be a better place with fewer cars; but, you have to offer a viable alternative, you have to make mass transit work!

Giuliani was a terrible mayor who sold the city to the lowest bidders in exchange for two elections, but at least Giuliani got the corporations to clean the streets and support the arts. Bloomberg lords over a filthy, malfunctioning New York that harkens back thirty years, but without the edginess, titillation and rock and roll.

Bloomberg is clueless, and like all billionaires, he is happy to blame anybody but himself and the other billionaires for our failings. Everything is the fault of the workers and the unions and the poor and the disenfranchised. If only everyone would do what he says, the city would be a better place. None of us could get to work, or the hospital or anywhere else, but the New York for and by billionaires will be a success -- if only we let him have his way.

Perhaps he isn't an idiot after all, perhaps those who voted for him should look in the mirror to see the idiots!

No comments: