Enough about me... let's talk more about me

5.13.2003 MTA fare increase

"The first time there was a mugging on the NYC subways was the first day the subway was opened; in 1904". -- Weird fact

Yep. It's a strange time in NYC right now. The latest report is that Mayor Bloomberg has imposed job cuts to over 3000 city workers. Guess there's less money flowing around these days. Even in the city. Weird though, for all the prices are going up too--property taxes, income taxes, water bills, and even mass transit fares. Yes, the historical subway ride is even more expensive these days. What started in 1904 now costs 2 dollars a ride.

And what people used to do during times like these was hoard tokens. These tokens are basically coins where each coin was worth one fare. So if one day, you purchased this token for a dollar fifty, the next day you can use it to pay for the 2 dollar fare. A savings of 50 cents each. Now multiply that by a few hundred hoarded tokens -- a mass transit arbitrage.

But the MTA was slick this time around and decided to rid the token altogether and rely on these things called Metrocards (electronic fund transfer). So what is a dollar fifty one day is now 2 dollars the next. Smart.. Clever. Smart.

Ah, but of course, the latest mass transit fare increase wouldn't be complete these days without the lastest accounting scandal. It has been uncovered that the MTA (the Mass Transit Authority) has been hiding 500 million dollars. The fare increase was to help maintainence of all equipment, etc.., and this surplus of 500 million dollars was never counted.

Of course, this doesn't matter cause as of May 4th, the fare increase went into effect anyway. It has been stated that there is a reservation held to lower the fare if investigations prove that they didn't need the money. Fat chance. While we're at it, I also heard a rumor that the MTA was harboring terrorists and using the fare increase to develop weapons of mass destruction. Better check it out.

All I say is that once you raise the price, there ain't ever going back -- it's like a rubberband.

Well, of course, people alike myself, who live a little distance away from a subway station must rely on express buses, also run by the MTA. And whose fare is double that of a regular fare. So now, instead of 3 dollars a ride, it's 4 dollars. There's something psychological about breaking the 3 dollar barrier. Suddenly, it seems somewhat expensive.

But something weird happened over the course of last week. I filled up my metrocard, and for some odd reason, every time I rode the bus, it didn't deduct any funds from it. It was weird. I would enter the bus, then stick my card into the reader. And my end balance would be displayed on the little console. I thought I was seeing things, but day after day, the display would still read the same amount.

Suddenly, I'm the man with the magic card. I wonder what I'll do next. Maybe spend the night out on the town with a few friends. Maybe we'll ride downtown, then uptown, then possibly midtown. I know you're jealous, but don't be ... Everyone has their day in the sun. Mine just happens to be on a bus.

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...One thing is that no matter how old I am, I probably will not like being called sir or mister, for they have always seemed too far out of reach...




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