Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Commuter comparison

Today's actual commute in to work:

8:00: left house, walked to bus
8:03: arrived at bus stop
8:07: bus scheduled to arrive
8:23: bus arrived, packed*
8:55: bus deposited Crapper at subway
8:56: Crapper boarded Manhattan bound train
9:10: Crapper switched for uptown express
9:25: Train arrived, Crapper boarded**
9:40: Crapper emerged from subway and walked
9:45: Crapper arrived at work, 45 minutes late (and was out 3/4 hour pay)

Total commuting time: 1hr, 45 minutes
Transit cost: $4 (including return home)
Wages lost: $32
Total cost: $36
Number of times Crapper was late this month because of the MTA: 6

Alternate route taken by Crapper's neighbor:

8:00: Left house
8:10: Arrived at Queens Midtown Tunnel
8:25: Got to other side of tunnel
8:40: Arrived at parking garage
8:45: Had breakfast
9:00: Arrived at work

Total commuting time: 40 minutes
Transit & parking cost: $27
Wages lost: $0
Total cost: $27
Number of times neighbor was late this month because of traffic: 2

Yes, congestion pricing will improve the average New Yorker's commute and quality of life.
The Crapper will now be carpooling with neighbor and splitting the cost.

* Reason bus was late: driver called out sick and there was no replacement for him
** Reason train was late: it was announced, but God knows what was said on the PA system

Photo from


georgetheatheist said...

How to succeed in Life.

Never, never, never be "on time".

Always be ten minutes early.

[Have you tried bicycling?]

Anonymous said...

Our council reps and city planners should be required to take public transportation to city hall from queens- and at rush hour too.

Maybe then some of these jerks will stop lobbying for upzoning to build large apartment buildings without adding some serious capacity to public transpo.

Anonymous said...

I just want to once again give props to the LIRR, which I take frome Woodside to Penn Station every day. It had delays occasionally, but not as much as the 7, and it's 10 minutes with no stops from 61st st to Penn Station. Worth the extra 2 or 3 dollars. Especially since they don't always take your ticket.

Anonymous said...


Shed $2, 30 minutes and maybe a few pounds to boot:

Ride a crappy old bike to the subway station and lock it up there for the day.

Queens Crapper said...

Thanks for the suggestions. The Crapper has a knee injury preventing bike riding and still would need way to get to Woodside from home for the other suggestion. Considering the one way cost of a car service is ~$10 to the train, I think I'll split the cost with my neighbor and go in the comfort of his car. Now how about other Queens commuters who don't live near subways? Are they all supposed to ride a bike?

Anonymous said...

Yeah I definitely think Bloomie should ride the bus and rails with you, Crappy. Might give him a different perspective on things.

Anonymous said...

Why the hell does it take someone who lives 10 minutes by car from the city more than an hour each day to get to work? That's insane.

Anonymous said...

How many commuters will be affected when the subway goes down or a bus driver calls in sick if commuter pricing is put in effect?

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I want to get on a train with people who just rode their bikes from home. Think "August" and realize why this is a bad, bad idea.

Steve T. said...

I'm going to share this post with the next person who questions why I hate the bus. It happens all the time, and I never win the argument. Well, that's about to change.

Anonymous said...

Listen: If Buffoonberg says that you must use public transit, he knows what's good for you. What the hell could you possibly know about your own daily commute?

Do what the Buffoon says. He's entitles to do your thinking, and, clearly, you're not.

Pay, suffer, and shut up!

georgetheatheist said...


1.There is now a proliferation of bicycle paths throughout the city. (BTW all this cycling mania brings to mind the policy paper that William F. Buckley put out in his bid for the mayoralty in -hang on to your hats, kiddies! - 1965! The Loquacious One proposed cycling as a transportation alternative. The press dubbed it "Buckley's Bikeway".) The problem with many of our current cycling paths are they are inanenly laid out for transportation purposes.

2.I rode my bike from Astoria to Union Square a few times back in 1967 in July-August. What a schvitz! Sitting in sweaty clothes the whole day plus risking your life on 2nd Avenue. No way Jose! That option went quickly off the board.

3. However, if employers can provide shower facilities at the job-place, bicycling could go back up on the board.

4. Northern Boulevard and Queens Boulevard, the main feeders onto the Qveensborough Bridge, must be outfitted with bicycle lanes or paths. I sheepishly admit to riding on the sidewalks down in the LIC '30's and '40's in non-rush hours,just to keep from getting run over.

5. Check out the car-pooling system that the Hasidim use. This is very visible down by the Navy Yard in Brooklyn by the BQE at the intersection of Kent Ave, Hewes Street and Flushing Avenue. No matter what time of the day, the black coats are waiting there for their "rides".

georgetheatheist said...


1. A propos the Buckley Bikeway, if I'm not mistaken, this was supposed to be an elevated structure (sort of like a miniature Air Train contraption that you see along the Van Wyck). AND the bicyclists would be paying a toll - I'm not kidding, a toll to enter the elevated bikeway! This was supposed to pay for the construction over the long haul.

2. Amsterdam in the Netherlands and Davis, California are big on bicycles as daily transportation. You see rows and rows of bikes parked at businesses in Amsterdam and, get this, they are unlocked.

3. Crapper, have you thought about getting a motorcycle or motorbike? A Vespa, perhaps? (La Dolce Vita!)

Queens Crapper said...

Please send in your transit commuting stories. Let's show the rest of the city what it's really like to live in a borough of neighborhoods underserved by subways and with crappy bus service to boot.

Queens Crapper said...

George: too chicken for a motorbike. You need a special license for one, anyway.

Anonymous said...

What we need is more dollar vans.

Anonymous said...

Hey how about that wonderful express bus service that they throw at us? My wife took the bus and I took the subway and local bus, and I got home 15 minutes before she did and for less than half the price.

Anonymous said...

Yes, we definitely need "Take your pol to work day." Let them see how the other half lives down in the salt mines.

Anonymous said...

I live on Staten Island, and in a perfect world it would be five minutes to the ferry by bus. If I want to make the 7:45 boat (yes, you have to plan to make the boat, more of an issue after rush hour) I have to leave my house by 7:10 in order to get to the bus stop by 7:15. Hopefully the bus will come by 7:25 (what schedule, you mean the buses run on a schedule?) and I will make the 7:45 and not have to run for it. The buses are packed and the traffic is heavy so there is no guarantee that I will make the ferry even if I leave 35 minutes before the ferry is scheduled to leave. Once I get to Manhattan I then have to get to work. Luckily I work downtown so I can walk. However, I have worked in midtown and in Brooklyn and that adds to the trip. Staten Island, worst commute in the country, no question. As I always said when I lived further out on the island (not Long Island) "You can't get there from here". Don't even get me started on coming home, especially late at night. As for the people who think we should bike, it is all uphill coming home.

Anonymous said...

QC, you're talent for exaggeration has reached dizzying new heights.

Your neighbor who drives every day is spending over $20 every single day for parking. Your "lost wages" only occur on those days that you are late (which you state is 6 days this month). Also, why are you paying $4 per day to ride the bus and subway? Anyone with an unlimited ride MetroCard pays, at most, $1.50 per ride (if used for work and a few times on weekends).

Also, I highly doubt that your neighbor is late due to traffic less than you are late due to the MTA. This might be true if he or she left at 6:00am, not 8:00am.

Nice try, QC.

Queens Crapper said...

Once again FH Guy crawls out from whatever rock he lives under to show the world he doesn't know his ass from his elbow. I take the subway 3 days a week so I don't need an unlimited ride card, but thanks for pointing that out. me being late 6 times when I only venture into Manhattan 3 days a week makes my percentage that much worse, now doesn't it? My neighbor pays $19 a day in parking fees and splits it with someone else already, which means he pays only $9.50/day now. With me in the car, we'll each pay only $6.33 on the days when I need a lift. Traffic at 8am is not anywhere near the levels that people think it is. Try it sometime!

Anonymous said...

The worst part about the commute on the LIE is passing the GCP interchange. If you live west of that you're in the clear until you have to pass the cars exiting at Van Dam Avenue to get on the QB Bridge. Sometimes it gets backed up there. But if you get past that, then you are probably ok until you get through the tunnel. if you stay on the east side, it's usually a breeze. Crossing town can be a bitch though.

Anonymous said...

You'll be paying less carpooling than if you rode the express bus or took the LIRR. Ain't that a kick in the head?

Anonymous said...

I have a great idea for congestion pricing for the subway:

The shorter the distance, the more you pay. You should just walk if you're only going a couple of stops and make more room for the rest of the people who travel from far away!

Anonymous said...

The whole idea of including the word "planning" in the title, "The New York City Planning Commission" is either a joke or an insult!

There is NO PLANNING going on here....just a build and bust attitude (BLOCK-BUSTING..... that is) in every "underutilized" neighborhood that Mayor Mike and his builder buddies have got their eyes on!

PLANNING for ADEQUATE infrastructure before development takes a back seat with this imperial administration!

Just let all those human Ants make their way about NYC as best as they can!

Anonymous said...

Mike D said: "Our council reps and city planners should be required to take public transportation to city hall from queens- and at rush hour too."

Agreed. Plus: Every city/state employee of any rank or location be required to travel exclusively by mass transit. Walking or jogging OK, but no taxis, limos, car service, or auto of any kind, no matter the time or reason.

Everyone read about the abuse of the park-anywhere-free/violate-any-law-free placards. Well, no more placards. Not for the mayor, the commissioners, the electeds; not for anyone.

Then watch how rapidly the mass transit system is repaired. Then watch how congestion is no longer a problem.

Please remember: no politician is inconvenienced by "congestion". Congestion is just one more excuse to tax and spend. There is absolutely no intention at all to fix congestion. It's too useful to be "fixed".

Anonymous said...

Remember, Gioia set aside SIX MILLION for a 'bike lane' going from Hunters Point up Vernon along 20th Ave to the airport.

Just also happens to be a corrider that massive development is planned.

Think something else is going on?

Think this is a wise use of money for the public benefit?

Think of better ways to use $6 million for community purposes?

(note to crappy: make a nice stand alone topic to examine)

Anonymous said...

Yes, lots of people use that route along Vernon to work.

Anonymous said...

QC makes a great argument for congestion pricing. The added cost will encourage more carpooling. The decrease in cars on the road will make all forms of surface transportation quicker. QC and his neighbor and whoever else carpools with them will enjoy a quicker ride to work, and so will those who cannot afford $27 per day in parking fees and so must take the bus. It's a win all the way around.

The fact is that relatively few working people can afford $150 bucks a week in parking fees. Let's put to rest the lie that congestion pricing will be a "tax on working people." Yes, it's a tax all right, but a tax that will benefit the vast majority of working people.

Of course, there are always some who lose in any new situation. City employees who have been enjoying free parking, other employees whose companies subsidize their parking. But when we are looking at transporation, we are, of necessity, talking about the common good. There is no doubt that the common good is served by congestion pricing on multiple levels -- in terms of improved business conditions, improved health conditions, and improved quality of life for the vast majority of New Yorkers.

Anonymous said...

By "vast majority of New Yorkers," you must mean Manhattanites below 96th Street who deal with the subway a much shorter time than the rest of the city or can hail a cab outside their doors, and won't have to deal with the headache of having people competing for parking spaces near the subway in their neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

I live in Sunnyside, four blocks from the 40th St./Lowery stop. I work in Midtown on 49th St, so I take the 7 two stops to Queensboro Plaza, then transfer across the platform to the N and take that to 49th Street (four stops.)

On a good day it's about a 15-20 minute commute. If I take either the 7 or the N at certain times, however, it's unbearably crowded. The 7 is hit or miss.

Anonymous said...

No, when I said the vast majority of New Yorkers will benefit from congestion pricing, I most certainly was not talking only about those living within the congestion pricing zone. I was talking about all New Yorkers whose health is affected by poor air quality (remember, we have some of the highest asthma rates in the nation), who want improved mass transit ("outer" borough residents have the most to gain here), and who want city streets that are reclaimed from automobiles and given back to pedestrians and cyclists. I live in Brooklyn and commute by bicycle to Manhattan. My commute would be made much more pleasant if there were fewer cars on the street.

Anonymous said...

Biking is a useful idea if

a) you don't wear business attire to work
b) you have somewhere to store the bike both at home and at your destination
c) you're physically able to ride a bike every day, and
d) it's not cold, raining, snowing or scorching, AND there's no threat in the weather forecast of that happening later in the day.

Other than all those things it's great.

Congestion pricing meanwhile relies on financial barriers, and financial barriers only affect people who don't have the finances to pay. So the rich are unaffected by congestion pricing schemes. There's no fairer way to reduce traffic?

Anonymous said...

To the poster who wants a "fairer" way to reduce congestion than congestion pricing -- what's your suggestion?

The vast majority of working New Yorkers take mass transit to work, and the investment in mass transit that will be made possible by congestion pricing will greatly benefit that vast majority. Sure rich people could more easily afford the congestion fee, but don't they already mostly live within the congestion pricing zone? To argue that congestion pricing discriminates against people who are economically disadvantaged is really a red herring.

As for your objection to cycling -- lots of people manage to solve most of the problems you seem to think make bicycle commuting impossible, and more people could resolve them if our government would improve cycling infrastructure through protected lanes, secure bicycle parking, incentives to businesses to make showers & lockers available, etc.

I don't know why you have to be able to ride every single day to make it a good public policy to invest in the infrastructure to support bicycle commuting. In Copenhagen, 30% of commuters use bicycles. As I recall, that city is fairly far north and gets its share of precipitation. And yet they have managed to create a transit infrastructure for bicycles.

Anonymous said...

QC, how come you don't seem to think that congestion pricing will provide money to improve the very services that you say need improving?

Queens Crapper said...

Maybe because I don't think the problem is money. If the problem were money, I should have seen some improvement in bus service when the city stopped subsidizing the private bus companies and took them over, running them at a lower cost. When the fare was raised to $2, I should have seen an improvement in bus and train service. I didn't. So I don't believe the hype about congestion pricing paying for improvements in service. What will make this any different than all the other increases in revenue?

Anonymous said...

Congestion Pricing will not result in less cars on the road. It will result in less cars on Manhattan roads. Check the all-mighty London for those facts. For people living close to transit hubs (like me and the LIRR), all it's going to do is result in MORE pollution for me and my family. The very pollution I thought I left behind when I left Manhattan.

If the personal income tax is city-wide, the congestion zone should be too. Make it city-wide.

Queens Crapper said...

I would not be opposed to congestion pricing if the subways and buses were currently running half empty (and were readily accessible to all residents of this city). But they are crowded to point where you have to allow 2 or 3 to go by before you can squeeze onto one at certain points. If one is delayed, fuhgeddabout getting to work on time, even if you give yourself extra time to arrive at your destination. Maybe the city should offer incentives to some businesses to start their work days an hour or two later in order to more evenly spread out the number of commuters utilizing the system at any given time. Or maybe they should offer carpool staging areas as they do in many towns outside the city. Why should anyone who lives within city limits face a 2-hour commute to Manhattan? It's simply ludicrous to suggest that people who live in areas underserved by public transit spend 4 hours or more per day to get to and from work. My aunt lives in Suffolk county and can get home faster on the LIRR than I can taking the train and bus at times. Sound insane? It is. And it's reality for a lot of people in Queens.

Anonymous said...

QC, at least that "rock" I live under is only 4 blocks from the subway (a 5 minute walk). I also am able to easily board the E or F train every day at the 71st/Continental station. These trains are rarely delayed and I have only been late for work one time in the last 3 months due to a subway delay.

Based on your numbers you are making $42 per hour, which is $10 per hour more than I make. If I can afford to live close to the subway, I'm betting that you can too. I know this won't solve the transportation problems in Queens, but it might make you a little less angry about so-called "overdevelopment" and your general lot in life.

Queens Crapper said...

Where in Queens I choose to live is based on many things. And none of them are your concern. The point is that not everyone can live near a subway station and the bus system in Queens is not adequate.

Queens Crapper said...

Furthermore, I make $42 three days a week, not 5.

Anonymous said...

QC, I'm not trying to tell you where to live.

But the fact is that there are trade-offs we all make when we choose where to live. Since you live far from the subway, you probably pay a lot less on your housing per square foot than people that live close to the subway. So you are getting a big benefit from where you live by having low housing costs compared to others who live close to the subway.

I know there are many people who simply can't afford to choose to live closer to the subway and that Queens does need some improvements to its public transportation systems. But it's hard to have any sympathy for people who make a decent income (like you), choose to live in an inconvenient neighborhood and then complain about it. And not only complain but expect to have an inalienable right to drive anywhere in the city at any time of day.

Anonymous said...

I don't recall asking for your sympathy. As long as NYC doesn't secede from the United States, I believe that everyone here has the inalienable right to drive anywhere in this city at any time of day.

Anonymous said...

Did FH Guy just come out against the public's right to access public roads?

Anonymous said...

FH Guy is right, Crapper. You must live in an affordable area, therefore, you should suffer with poor bus service despite the fact that you pay the same $2 that everyone else does to use it. Serves you right!

georgetheatheist said...

Crapper, how about getting a Segway?

Queens Crapper said...

Ok, George. How about this one?

"Speaking of commuter taxes, did you hear that we're paying for the gas for Bloomie's limo each time he travels out to Queens?"

In all seriousness, why doesn't he ride the subway everywhere, if it's such a great way to get around all 5 boroughs and we are all expected to be doing it?

Anonymous said...

I'm not going to mention any names, but in 2005, a genius by the name of Roger Toussaint reminded me to NEVER rely on mass transit.

I'll take whichever mode of transportation I see fit. I'll drive to places not readily accessible by mass transit, and leave the car home to avoid congested areas. Most drivers are able to make that judgement.

If you put things in that perspective, there shouldn't be an inalienable right to take mass transit when you are perfectly capable of walking. Is the congestion problem only limited to cars? (see previous L train post)

Anonymous said...

"As long as NYC doesn't secede from the United States, I believe that everyone here has the inalienable right to drive anywhere in this city at any time of day."

"Did FH Guy just come out against the public's right to access public roads?"

This may come as a shock to the average car-loving QC reader, but there is no "right" to drive. Driving is a privelege, which is why you need a license which can be revoked if you violate the traffic laws. This distinction may be too subtle for QC readers, so feel free to consult a dictionary.

Queens Crapper said...

privelege - look this one up in the dictionary - once you figure out how to spell it.

No one said you shouldn't need a license to drive. How did that come up?

Anonymous said...

So under congestion pricing, people would still need cars to drive to the subways which they will be forced to take. And where exactly will they park if we're building on the sites that formerly contained parking lots and garages?

Anonymous said...

It is nice of you to lump everyone together in your hairbrained rhetoric.

It may come as a shock to you that most of "us car lovers" agree something should be done to alleviate congestion and pollution.

Anonymous said...

QC, re your argument about why previous rev increases have not yielded benefits.

There are many reasons but one of them could be that no one with any kind of "global" (for nyc) oversight has seen the issue as a city wide problem before now. That of insufficient mass transport options or solutions.

There are also new ideas that have been proven to work such as BRT

Look up the experience in Bogota on for a really good implementation.

BRT in nyc is only just getting off the ground so you will not have seen any benefits from increased revenue before now. Hopefully ppl on BRT routes will in the future.

What do you think of BRT?