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Thread: New York City transit ridership increase!

  1. #1
          bross's avatar
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    New York City transit ridership increase!

    http://www.nypost.com/news/regionaln...emy_olshan.htm

    "In the city alone, where the population increased 7 percent, to 8.2 million, over the past 10 years, ridership has gone up 36 percent, to 2.2 billion.

    Meanwhile, traffic on the bridges and tunnels saw only moderate increases in the same period."


    Logically, shouldn't traffic on the bridges and tunnels either stay steady or decrease, given the large number of new riders on the subways? Or am I missing something?

  2. #2

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    Something the article should have included is comparing the total number of trips made overall. Since the population's grown, I'm guessing the number of total trips has grown too.

    That means all modes will have more trips made on them compared to 10 years ago. Even though the transit mode split has grown, it hasn't grown enough to put a major dent in the number of trips made by non-transit modes.

    Even with really good transit, with high utilization like New York has, where I think the mode split for transit is 20-30% for work trips (and note that work trips are only a portion of all trips), it would take a really really big increase in the number of trips made using transit to really start reducing overall vehicle volumes.

  3. #3
    Cyburbian njm's avatar
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    actually, I believe NYC's overall split is 30%--over 50% transit for work trips.

    Otherwise DPP's comments are correct: the total number of trips has continually increased; the larger increase in transit over bridge/tunnel traffic means that either: transit's share of trips has grown or; trips with vehicles are shorter and more are confined within the boundary created by the bridges and tunnels (which would not be surprising given the increase in population within the city.)
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    NYC's bridge and tunnels are used not just by the city's residents, or course, but by folks from New Jersey, Long Island, Westchester. (That's why they're called Bridge and Tunnel people.) NYC's metro area has grown in population, I'm sure, and maybe more than NYC has.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian wahday's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bross View post
    Logically, shouldn't traffic on the bridges and tunnels either stay steady or decrease, given the large number of new riders on the subways? Or am I missing something?
    I think you have factor in population growth and, as noted, increases in commuter traffic both because of population growth outside the boroughs and employment growth within the City.

    Of course, this factor needs to also be applied to transit ridership (though still, obviously, ridership IS up).

    We have definitely seen a dramatic increase in transit use here in podunk Albuquerque (pop. ~ 500k) over the last two years as well as bike ridership. I think it is a combination of traffic frustration, gas prices and the improvement and development of new transit approaches to better serve the commuter population (we instituted an express articulated bus service that has exceeded expectations).
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    Cyburbian abrowne's avatar
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    People... drive into Manhattan? While visiting I didn't get the impression that driving was a relevant option for most.

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    Cyburbian Iron Ring's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by abrowne View post
    People... drive into Manhattan? While visiting I didn't get the impression that driving was a relevant option for most.
    When I lived in New Jersey (about 30 mi outside NYC), I regularly made my way into Manhattan for work, about once a week on average. I basically had 3 options:
    1. Drive (1.5 hrs & $4 tolls + $20 parking + gas)
    2. Commuter Bus (1.5 hrs & $16 roundtrip + $4 subway fares)
    3. Train (1.5 hrs & $14 roundtrip + $4 subway fares)

    Travel time was about the same, although driving or taking the bus could easily become a +2 hr adventure with an accident or some other traffic tie up. I usually took the train since it was the most reliable and I enjoyed the extra time to nap, read a book, chat with someone, etc... The bus tended to be over crowded and driving alone was too stressful. However, I knew so many people who insisted on driving, because they "like their own space" and wanted to be in control of their commute, even if it was more expensive and took longer. I guess thats the crux of the whole public transit vs private vehicle problem.

    Back to the original question, why is bridge and tunnel use still inceasing? One explanation may be improved capacity at the major crossings due to things like EZ Pass. Most of the major bridges and tunnels are tolled and I'd say around 5-10 years ago was when the big push to get people using EZ Pass took place.

  8. #8
          bross's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by Iron Ring View post
    Back to the original question, why is bridge and tunnel use still inceasing? One explanation may be improved capacity at the major crossings due to things like EZ Pass. Most of the major bridges and tunnels are tolled and I'd say around 5-10 years ago was when the big push to get people using EZ Pass took place.
    Yes, on the Jersey side the major bridges and tunnels are tolled, but on the NY side the crossings leading into the CBD of Manhattan are not all tolled. The major bridges (59th street bridge, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan) are not tolled. The tunnels, on the other hand, are tolled. What I do know is that when the MTA decided to increase the tolls on the tunnels, there was an increase in vehicles on the free bridges.

    Why those bridges are still free is beyond me. Money from those bridges (which I believe would add over $700 million a year in revenue if modeled after the London scheme), could go to improving and expanding the NYC Subways.

  9. #9
    Cyburbian dobopoq's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by bross
    Yes, on the Jersey side the major bridges and tunnels are tolled, but on the NY side the crossings leading into the CBD of Manhattan are not all tolled. The major bridges (59th street bridge, Williamsburg, Brooklyn and Manhattan) are not tolled. The tunnels, on the other hand, are tolled. What I do know is that when the MTA decided to increase the tolls on the tunnels, there was an increase in vehicles on the free bridges.

    Why those bridges are still free is beyond me. Money from those bridges (which I believe would add over $700 million a year in revenue if modeled after the London scheme), could go to improving and expanding the NYC Subways.
    I guess this has the effect of being a tax break to in-state commuters - even though Hoboken is as close to Manhattan as Bedford-Stuyvesant is.

    I agree that if you're commuting into Manhattan by car from the outer burroughs or nearby Jersey City, Union City, Hoboken etc., you ought to pay a congestion tax similar to that in London. All done effortlessly by OCR of license plates, and electronic billing. I think $10 would be a good starting point. And any form of free parking in Manhattan ought to be outlawed. Such is an egregious affront to the scarce and highly valued public space of New York.
    "The current American way of life is founded not just on motor transportation but on the religion of the motorcar, and the sacrifices that people are prepared to make for this religion stand outside the realm of rational criticism." -Lewis Mumford

  10. #10
    Cyburbian jresta's avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by dobopoq View post
    I guess this has the effect of being a tax break to in-state commuters - even though Hoboken is as close to Manhattan as Bedford-Stuyvesant is.

    I agree that if you're commuting into Manhattan by car from the outer burroughs or nearby Jersey City, Union City, Hoboken etc., you ought to pay a congestion tax similar to that in London. All done effortlessly by OCR of license plates, and electronic billing. I think $10 would be a good starting point. And any form of free parking in Manhattan ought to be outlawed. Such is an egregious affront to the scarce and highly valued public space of New York.
    That's pretty much already the case if you drive into Manhattan from NJ. Every bridge and tunnel is tolled and all of the major crossings have variable tolls depending on the time of day.

    I would also add that population growth could explain much of the rise in transit and car traffic but you also have to take into account the growth in VMT over those last 10 years.

    It may well be that the number of drivers has remained steady but that they're driving more. There's also been a huge increase in commercial traffic over that period.
    Indeed you can usually tell when the concepts of democracy and citizenship are weakening. There is an increase in the role of charity and in the worship of volunteerism. These represent the élite citizen's imitation of noblesse oblige; that is, of pretending to be aristocrats or oligarchs, as opposed to being citizens.

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