That headlines comes as no surprise to anyone who has ridden the subway anywhere outside of Manhattan. If you’ve ever tried to get to Manhattan outside of rush hour or on the weekends then you’ve done the long standing, crossing arms, and rolling eyes ‘position’ for way to long. But how much are we getting screwed? An article by study John Rozankowski of Suite 101 points out where were getting the shaft:
The MTA’s bias against New York City’s outer boroughs will suffocate their economic revival.
Most documents state that New York City is composed of five boroughs. This, however, may come as a surprise to the MTA, whose definition of NYC seems limited to the wealthy areas of Manhattan. With respect to the outer boroughs, the agency barely fulfills its statutory requirements.
Shaft #1: Poor Connectivity
In a study called “Behind the Curb,” the Center for an Urban Future provides convincing data demonstrating that while Manhattan lost 110,000 jobs since 2000, the outer boroughs have gained 67,000 new jobs mainly in healthcare, education and manufacturing. These gains would have been even more dramatic if travel between and within the boroughs was easier. Entrepreneurs are reluctant to take advantage of lower costs in setting up their businesses in the outer boroughs because of difficulties in attracting and retaining good workers. More often than not, the reason is a long and difficult commute.
Most subway lines run in a north-south direction through Manhattan dating from the days when that borough was the only major employment location. In traveling by subway from the Bronx to Queens, for example, a person must enter Manhattan and switch to another line to get to Queens. There are only two buses connecting these boroughs and neither runs deep enough into the Bronx or into Queens to make a significant difference. Travel within the outer boroughs is also problematic. A trip from the Grand Concourse in the central Bronx to Throg’s Neck in the east, for example, takes well over an hour on the BX40/42. Commutes within Queens and Brooklyn are as long and often require several bus transfers.
“Behind the Curb” is correct in asserting that better mass transit connections are critical to foster outer borough growth and it strongly encourages the creation of new Select Bus Service lines to improve connectivity quickly and inexpensively.
The MTA, however, has demonstrated absolutely no interest in this important issue. While “Behind the Curb” strongly recommends the expansion of Select Bus Service, the MTA even refuses to expand Limited Bus Service. In almost every Bronx public hearing, someone has urged the MTA to provide Limited service for the BX40/42 to deaf ears.