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Regulator approves NYC area airport tax, favoring taxis over ride-hails



nyc area airport tax

Passengers commuting to or from Newark Liberty, LaGuardia and John F. Kennedy airports by taxi or ride-hail service will have to pay additional fees beginning in October 2020, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey said on Thursday.

The fees will hit ride-hail companies such as Uber Technologies Inc and Lyft Inc harder than the city’s traditional taxi industry, which for years has called on regulators to rein in the app-based competitors.

According to the new rules, taxi riders will be charged $1.25 per airport pick-up from next October, increasing to $1.75 in 2022.

Individual app-based rides with Uber and Lyft will be taxed $2.50 for rides both originating and ending at an airport.

Pooled or shared rides, in which multiple passengers are picked up along the route, will be charged $1.25 for each pick-up and drop-off. Lyft and Uber both offer pool options to their customers, a segment in which they have competition from Via, a New York-based company specializing in shared rides.

The decision comes just months after New York City implemented a congestion surcharge and passed additional regulations aimed at boosting ride-hail drivers’ pay and easing congestion in central Manhattan.

Thursday’s airport fee approval puts the region on par with the rest of the country, where most large airport operators charge pickup fees for taxis and ride-shares.

The Port Authority, in its public agenda for Thursday’s meeting, said the fees were necessary to upgrade rail and airport infrastructure, including the construction of a new terminal at Newark.

“More than virtually anywhere else in the United States, the shared prosperity and continued vitality of the New York/New Jersey region depends on our public transportation infrastructure functioning, and functioning well,” the Authority said.

Uber on Thursday said the fee structure will have a disproportionate negative impact on New Yorkers who do not live in central Manhattan and do not have easy access to taxicabs.

“We support the Port Authority’s goal of improving the customer experience, but are disappointed that they’ve decided to punish Uber riders by charging them three times more in fees than taxis round trip,” the company said in a statement.

Lyft did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Ride-share company Via welcomed the distinction between pooled and private vehicles, saying in a statement that incentivizing multi-passenger rides over single-occupancy vehicles was in line with New York’s and New Jersey’s ambitious climate goals.


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MTA inspector general says four Long Island Rail Road workers padded overtime




mta report

Four Long Island Rail Road workers who ranked among the highest earners in the MTA last year padded their overtime pay by claiming more than $140,000 in “excessive and unsubstantiated” travel time for driving to and from assignments, according to the MTA’s inspector general.

The four, foremen in the track and structures division of the railroad’s engineering department, made $650,836 in total overtime last year, Metropolitan Transportation Authority Inspector General Carolyn Pokorny stated in a letter dated Sept. 26 to LIRR president Phillip Eng.

The foremen received an estimated $146,800 combined in “questionable travel time payments” for 2018, highlighting a broader problem of inadequate management oversight, unreliable documentation of employee time and attendance, and lax supervision, according to Pokorny’s letter.

“We conclude that this has been a very costly and wasteful practice, brought about by years of managerial neglect that allowed a small group of workers to take advantage at taxpayer expense,” Pokorny wrote in the letter.

Eng, in a statement Wednesday responding to Pokorny’s letter, said the railroad “takes very seriously any confirmed abuses” and will seek to recover money that was not properly earned by the accused workers.

Only one of the four was identified by Pokorny — Raymond Murphy, 65, who retired last year and was accused in a separate inspector general’s investigation about cheating the railroad by claiming he was working when he was at or near his East Northport home. He made $280,950 in 2018.

The revelations come as several agencies, including federal and Queens prosecutors, continue to investigate potential overtime abuse among LIRR workers. The concerns of fraud stem from an April report by the Empire Center for Public Policy that revealed alarmingly high overtime rates among some workers. The MTA paid $418 million in overtime in 2018, up 16% from the previous year.


By Alfonso A. Castillo

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MTA New York City Transit Launches ‘Clean Slate’ Redesign of Brooklyn Bus Network




MTA news

Public Outreach Begins with Series of Community Open Houses to Gather Information on Customer Travel Patterns and Priorities


Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)

today announced the first series of public open houses this fall as part of a comprehensive redesign of the Brooklyn local and express bus networks, which will redraw the entire borough’s bus routes for the first time. This historic undertaking will use public feedback, multiple sources of data and analysis, and a thorough review of demographics and upcoming developments to create a bus network that reimagines service for 650,000 Brooklyn bus riders.

As part of the Fast Forward plan to modernize and transform New York City Transit services, NYC Transit is seeking to transform the entire city’s bus networks to speed up rides and improve bus service. Most of the city’s current bus routes were implemented decades ago, with many replacing old trolley lines from the turn of the 20th century. NYC Transit will redraw those routes to take into consideration the vast changes in usage, ridership, demographics and development the city has seen. Goals of these historic redesigns include providing bus service that runs more frequently and serves more customers throughout the borough’s major corridors. To achieve such goals, Transit will look for ways to straighten routes that are excessively circuitous, limiting redundancy while adding service where needed, and bolstering off-peak service and coverage.

MTA will thoroughly review all local, Select Bus Service, and express bus routes in Brooklyn. Planners and MTA officials will also conduct an analysis of current and future market needs, travel trends, and current bus performance and reliability. Collectively, this work will help identify enhancements such as new routes, changes to service frequency, transit priority treatments, or bus priority signaling technology. MTA staff met with the Brooklyn Borough Board in early October to provide details on public outreach and the redesign process that will take place over the coming months. Public feedback from meetings, surveys conducted in person and online, and public input sessions will help inform this process, which is scheduled for completion in 2020. Each step in the process will incorporate opportunities for public comment, including community meetings and workshops. A draft plan will undergo its own round of public outreach before a final plan is proposed, and that final proposal will also be accompanied by a round of public outreach when it is released in late 2020. The final plan will be subject to public hearing and an MTA Board vote before it can be implemented.

NYC Transit has scheduled 10 open houses to inform customers and Brooklyn residents about the project’s goals. The community is encouraged to attend and share their priorities for Brooklyn’s new bus network. Members of the public will work in tandem with MTA bus planning experts to consider factors such as frequency of service in high-ridership areas, ensuring adequate service throughout the borough and balancing bus stop spacing. Transit personnel will also conduct rider surveys at bus stops and online through a dedicated project website.

In addition, MTA personnel will be on site at locations across Brooklyn to provide information about the open houses, answer questions about the Brooklyn Bus Network Redesign and to help customer submit surveys online.




More information about the redesigns is available here:

A dedicated website on the Brooklyn redesign with the accompanying online survey, where customers can find reports as they are released, is available here:

Information about the Bronx redesign is available here:

Information about the Queens redesign is available here:




  • 63 local routes serving approximately 640,000 weekday customers
  • 9 express routes serving approximately 9,000 weekday customers
  • The borough’s local bus ridership has declined 14% between 2016 and 2019
  • Brooklyn express bus ridership has declined 10% between 2016 and 2019
  • Bus speeds boroughwide are currently 7.7 mph, a decline of 3% since 2016

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Ferry frustrations -New York taxi scheme crippled drivers across the country — Erie County race a national bellwether




ferry frustrations

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s New York City ferry system inspires a particular derision among a certain set of the city’s transit devotees. But who could hate transit that offers open air, a river breeze, skyline views and serves beer?

The issue, even transit advocates say, is that the city has sunk a huge pot of money into the ferries, which carry a tiny number of people when compared to the subways and buses. Newly-released data confirms ferry riders tend to be white and upper middle class.
As our Dana Rubinstein reports today, New York operates the second most heavily subsidized urban ferry system of its size in the country, trailing only New Orleans. The subsidy adds up to a hefty $9.34 for each ride.

Still, the city throws wads of cash at a lot of things, so what’s the beef with the ferries, which at least offer New Yorkers and tourists a new amenity? As with so many things, part of the problem may lie with de Blasio’s rhetoric. The mayor framed the new ferry system as part of the solution to the larger transit crisis, even though it carries too few people to make a dent. He called it a way to tackle historic “inequities,” even though the evidence suggests its riders are not disadvantaged.

While the mayor does not control the MTA (periodic reminder: Gov. Andrew Cuomo does), advocates would like to see him lavish as much attention and, more importantly, money on changes to city streets that would improve bus service, which is used by exponentially more riders.

If you accept the premise that the ferries are a problem, what’s the solution? Some would like to see the city keep the boats going, but charge more than $2.75 and free up money for other transit needs. Still, de Blasio is boxed in by his pledge to make the ferries affordable by pegging their cost to the subway fare. If he faces some backlash now, a move to hike the fare would surely spark a backlash of its own.

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