MTA/LIRR fare increases start this weekend just in time for Earth Day celebrations. I live in the beach chic area called Long Beach- the dense barrier island next to Rockaways, where Earth Day celebrations are sponsored by the car lobby disguised as climate conscious electric cars. Sure electric fuel is probably better in the long term than dinosaur juice but I’m still not going to ask Ronald McDonald to pilot the Impossible McBurger at a Morrissey show - at the end of the day the industry serves carnage. Earth Day, guys- shouldn’t we be getting people out of cars?
Sorry to distract my elected officials from the cool electric car show headlining Earth Day with such boring news as public transportation- but this is highly relevant news for everyday people who rely on buses:
The weekly and monthly fares are going up which means NICE bus riders who use cards to get to work are paying more. A bus rider who works 5 days per week will now pay:
Bus fare in coins $2.75 per trip
Monthly card $3.18 per trip
Weekly card $3.30 per trip
Putting up barriers to taking a bus means those who have an option to drive will do so, and those that have no options have to suck it up and be weighed down either by finding coins to carry or paying more via Metrocards. The process of finding change makes using a Metrocard more convenient, though the process of purchasing a Metrocard can be difficult when there are few outlets to purchase them outside of a LIRR station. So now with the price increase there's not many options.
...And I haven't even scratched the surface of who these bus fare raises will impact the most.
So while our electric leaders will be celebrating Earth Day this weekend by testing out Elon Musks electric-juiced steel freedom machines, taking election season photo's in attempts to out-environmental champion each other, the less privileged people who rely on buses will be at the sad bus station - except not those who take the N33 as NICE cut Sunday service altogether.
Will anyone speak up for bus riders while fares spike and service declines? Has anyone reached out on behalf of Sunday riders who rely on the N33? And by extension, what is happening with Point Lookout bus service and the status of our municipal bus fares?
Our leaders may have missed the bus when it was time to speak out against fare increases but its not too late to demand returned services for the N33, then return municipal bus service to PT Lookout while pledging NO FARE INCREASES for LB municipal buses...now that sounds like a great way to celebrate Earth Day.
-Allison Blanchette is a cranky resident of Long Beach