Thursday, November 21, 2002

Straphangers and Other Migratory Animals

In response to my post below about L. A. bus service, Amy Phillips observes that New Yorkers aren't that different from Los Angelinos:
They're doing the same thing on the NYC subway system. A group called "Straphangers" ( is trying to get the MTA to run more trains, and simultaneously lobbying to keep the fare down when the MTA has said they need to raise it to sustain the system. Apparently, Straphangers claims that the fare hike is just a ploy by unionized transit workers to bilk us out of our money, and so we should fight for our "fair share" of taxes paid by upstate New Yorkers to finance NYC transit. There are so many flaws there, I don't even want to get started.
Indeed. There's plenty of silliness to go around when it comes to mass transportation, though I think the silly quotient is lower when it comes to subways. New subway companies can't enter the market in the same way new bus companies can (or could, if city government didn't protect the MTA monopoly), so the argument for market competition doesn't work quite as well. But as Amy suggests, there is still something irksome about unions and NYC commuters fighting over money extracted from people who have nothing to do with the subway whatsoever.

By the way, "straphanger" is pronounced "strap hanger," and not "straffanger" as I thought the first time I saw that word in print.

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