Friday, September 13, 2013

25 Cent Roosevelt Island Red Bus Fare Eliminated and Parking Fees Doubled In Proposed RIOC 2014/15 Budget - Improve Efficiency, Reduce Main Street Traffic and Encourage Use Of Motorgate Garage Says RIOC

Reported in December 2012 that Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) Transportation Manager Cy Opperman

 RIOCTransportation Manager Cy Opperman at Red Bus Stop From Jonathan Kalkin at Yfrog

suggesting eliminating the Roosevelt Island Red Bus Fare:
... Eliminate dollar bill in fare box because it causes jams in the fare box and increases lines to get on the bus. Dollar bills are also filthy. (Blue gloves that are put on to count the dollar bills are no longer blue when count is finished)

Mr Opperman suggested that it would be cheaper to run the bus without a fare but RIOC Directors are not likely to go along with that suggestion. According to RIOC Chief Financial Officer Steve Chironis, Red Bus annual revenue is $300 hundred thousand from riders and $100 Thousand from the Octagon Express for a total of $400 thousand annually. The annual Red Bus expenses are $1.2 million for a net annual loss of $800 thousand....
I learned at yesterday's RIOC Board of Directors meeting that Mr. Opperman's suggestion will be implemented and the Roosevelt Island Red Bus will soon be free. According to the RIOC Proposed FY 2014-15 Budget (Page 4):
... the proposed budget includes the elimination of the bus fares and associated cost including the transfer of two positions associated with the collection and depositing of bus revenues to fill existing and new positions. Furthermore, the parking rate is proposed to be doubled....

According to RIOC, eliminating the bus fare and doubling parking rates will improve the Roosevelt Island Red Bus efficiency, reduce traffic jams on Main Street and encourage greater use of the Motorgate Garage.


Mark Lyon said...

Excellent news! Eliminating red bus fares will speed up service and make usage of the red bus easier for everyone. I know the drivers will love not hearing the "your change is encoded on card" message a million times each shift.

YetAnotherRIer said...

I think this is a dumb move. IMHO, of course.

franceonisland said...

Get rid of the red bus fare! That is a great idea and if implemented is sure to improve Island transportation efficiency and reduce visitors' confusion and frustration when they have to rummage for coins. Love it!

Trevre Andrews said...

I have been suggesting this for years, finally someone seems to be listening.

CheshireKitty said...

On 9/12/13, at the RIOC Board Meeting, RIOC Director Polivy let us know that henceforth our Red Bus will be free of charge: What a fantastic and progressive move on the part of RIOC! This will help many on RI who are on a tight budget as well as speed up bus operations! Thank you, Cy! Thank you Howard, Charlene, and RIOC!

YetAnotherRIer said...

And the buses will be packed even more and folks have even less incentive to stay off their lazy behinds and walk.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer: the Red Buses are at the knee of the price/demand curve: with elasticity on higher prices (reducing ridership, except for Octagon which has its own express bus), and inelasticity on lower prices (doesn't significantly increase ridership).

So I guess that we're in agreement on the elasticity on higher prices (you believe prices are elastic with your statement "folks have even less incentive to stay off their lazy behinds and walk"), but not on lower prices.

We won't know about the elasticity of lower prices until they implement it, but we do know some things for sure: when the Red Bus was free (up until 1991), we could board the bus in BOTH doors, it was much much quicker at every stop. The reason the fare was added was: Gov. Cuomo was insistent upon increasing revenues (due to poor NYS economy) and RIOC was receiving subsidies, so we were forced to accept some kind of fare, even though it was not profitable at all.
And with speedier bus service, it might be possible to reduce the number of buses necessary by a bus (or two), which decreases cost significantly, yet still provides the same level of service.

And, according to you, if the prices are elastic, then a higher price would decrease demand, especially during rush hour which is the highest profitability portion of the service, i.e., higher prices means RIOC takes in less money, so higher prices make it worse financially yet bring no benefits. So that leaves the options: (1) keep it the same, or (2) make it free and get better service.

In the past, I've advocated for free red bus service, and that still is my position.

OldRossie said...

I actually have to side with YetAnotherIslander on this one. I've seen several occasions where people that don't appear capable of walking (generally elderly) are forced to either push their way into crowded buses or wait for the next bus, while people who are more than capable of walking (weight problems notwithstanding) comfortably take up a lot of space. It's a nice walk, I'll keep it safe and say we could all use the exercise... If it cost MORE, it may free up some room, and elderly discounts etc could be utilized.

YetAnotherRIer said...

"when the Red Bus was free (up until 1991), we could board the bus in BOTH doors, it was much much quicker at every stop."

And even that can be addressed w/o making it free. The MTA has done it with their SBS. Everything can be done with the right technology. But that, of course, requires brain cells and a bit of guts which the RIOC has been lacking. I'd say increase the prices and invest in technology that can collect fares easier and more reliable while making boarding the bus smoother.

Frank Farance said...

YetAnotherRIer, yes I agree about the technology, which might speed it up, but the technology has a cost, too. However, since the red bus has always operated at a substantial loss, it seems easier to minimize the costs rather than expecting that we'd get anywhere close to making a profit. The phrase Throwing Good Money After Bad comes to mind.

I've heard the ridership is about 3000 trips each rush hour (morning and again in evening) so this appears to be a service that is widely used by a majority of the 5000-ish residential units. It did work in the past as a free service, and it will probably work fine as a free service, just like the Staten Island Ferry does (which went to Free).

CheshireKitty said...

You may not realize that the minibus system was planned and originally implemented as a free service. This is all explained in the GDP. It was never intended to be a "money-making" operation - simply a convenience for residents.

I think restoring free minibus service, after over 20 years of having to pay, is a fantastic idea. Again, I warmly applaud Howard, Charlene, Cy and the entire RIOC team for going ahead and making this timely, progressive, and pro-resident decision!

OldRossie said...

Of course you do! Anything free is a wonderful idea!

CheshireKitty said...

Now you just sound bitter, and stingy Rossie. Because it's free, you would deny it.

Let's face it, you want business or the State to make money off everything - if it were up to you, we'd have to pay a membership fee to walk into Lighthouse Park. right? Why should parks be free? Even the water supply - privatize it! Next, charge a fee for letting residents walk on the sidewalk!

Your thing Rossie is squeezing every last dime out of consumers, right? Giving nothing to anyone for free. So of course free minibus service is anathema to you - just as sharing the island with those less well off irks you.

You really should read the GDP which explains how the island was planned as a mixed-income community - not *only* for rich folks like you!

Frank Farance said...

CK, here's what is says in the GDP about the red bus:

"1. Basic Program. ... The public streets and pedestrian circulation system within the North and South Town areas will be based on a street system down the length of the Island with a loop within the South Town Area and related access roads, walkways and paths. The system will emphasize pedestrian circulation and travel by public transport on the mini-transit system within the Island. Residents, employees and visitors will be encouraged to park their cars at the garage called the Motorgate, to be built at the Island end of the Welfare Island Bridge."


"4. Circulation. ... The principal on-Island public transportation system will be a mini-transit system chosen for its efficiency and economy. Residents and visitors will be encouraged to leave their cars at the Motorgate plaza except when loading and unloading."

CK, I'm not seeing GDP wording that the red bus was planned to be for free.

CheshireKitty said...

Nor did it say there would be a fare, correct? The founders, back in the 70s, interpreted the GDP to mean free. In fact, it was free at first - just as the GDP >implies< since it doesn't specify that it should have a fare.

Frank Farance said...

CK, I agree with YetAnotherRIer: "You are doing it again. You make up stuff and make it sounds like facts. And you'll try to wiggle yourself out of it.".

CK, you say:

[CK:] "You may not realize that the minibus system was planned and originally implemented as a free service. This is all explained in the GDP."

and then later you say

[CK:] "It's not particularly constructive to rehash this issue; suffice it to say that there is no mention of a bus fare in the GDP, which is what I originally said."

which is YetAnotherRIer's observation that you're wiggling out of it.

So on one hand you say with certainty "This [free service] is all explained in the GDP" and then on the other hand say "there is no mention of a bus fare in the GDP, which is what I originally said", which contradicts your original statement: you say something was said in the GDP, now you say nothing was mentioned in the GDP.

You say my logic is flawed in:

[CK:] "Given the isolation of RI and the lack at the time of a direct transit link to Manhattan, it would not have been realistic to expect residents to give up their cars upon moving in to RI. So your logic may be flawed in that regard."

But you'll see I did not make any statements about whether or not residents would give up their cars.

You argue "As far as the tram fare, it was never cheaper than train fare, ...", but I did not say the tram fare was less.

You made the point that a fee was charged for the Tram because it was more expensive to build, i.e., things that are more expensive infrastructure get user fees ("Charging a fare was optional since minimal infrastructure other than the buses/bus garage was required"). But things with more expensive infrastructure than the Tram that were built without user fees (AVAC, street, sewage, etc.), and there were public facilities of significantly lesser cost that had user fees (e.g., community rooms hosting birthday parties).

You are interpreting some fare/fee implications from the GDP based upon infrastructure cost, which are without substantiation.

You seem to have a problem of seeing, hearing, interpreting, correlating, and inferring things that are just not there.

YetAnotherRIer said...

No, you said "[...] the minibus system was planned and originally implemented as a free service [...]" and now you are saying "[...] that means it could be free [...]"

Are you incapable to make a distinction between something that is planned to be and something that something that could possibly be something? For somebody who likes to write a lot you seem to have a weak understanding of the English language.

CheshireKitty said...

Truly the comment of someone bored with life. No-one keeps track of quotes and such like Frank. As I just definitively said to Yet, the bus system wasn't originally planned or implemented to have a fee. Case closed.

As far as the tram discussion, yes, it is true that a lot more expensive infrastructure was built without user fees - but imposing resident fees for these other systems would have been outlandish - too much to expect of residents.

Anyway, the bond floated by the State of NY paid for the construction of the infrastructure - so the cost was assumed by the State. The State of course later pays back with interest the bond investment to those that purchase these bonds. This is where the money for these large-scale projects such as RI, highway and bridge construction etc., comes from. Occasionally, of course tolls/fares/fees must be imposed or increased to help offset costs.

All I was saying is a possible/other reason for having a tram fare vs not having a bus fare is that the tram system was costly to build, much more costly to develop/build, than the bus system. Yet I also indicated that I may be wrong - perhaps the bus system is just as costly as the tram. If so, then listing the cost of development/construction as a possible reason for the imposition of a tram fare but not a bus fare, wasn't a valid one. Since I don't have access to the exact numbers (and in fact, nor do I wish to) the entire discussion is speculative, or theoretical. Anybody is allowed to wonder about the relative cost of the bus system vs the tram system - why is musing about a cost comparison of these two systems considered "a problem"?

Certain things can be done to raise money but aren't. The City renovated the bridge from RI to Queens but didn't impose a toll to pay for the renovation. The City also has mulled over but still hasn't been imposed E. River bridge tolls, despite the cost of maintaining them. Not only could it impose tolls on the Brooklyn, Manhattan, Williamsburg and Queensboro bridges, the City could even charge walkers on E. River bridges for the privilege of using the bridges, but it doesn't. The reason it doesn't is that tolls on these bridges would cut down on the circulation of the population, they would divide the City, would be politically unpopular, and would be an annoyance. This would be the case even if a convincing case were made about how expensive it is to maintain these bridges, and plus the toll money would be put to good use etc. That is why, on a much more minuscule level, our minibus system, even though it currently is available for a nominal fare, should be free - even if the costs of operating the bus system haven't vanished. It too links all sectors of the island, facilitates the circulation of the population, is a shuttle-like service, unifies the island's developments; foregoing the fare revenue isn't going to make that much of a difference overall in RIOC's debt or liability.

CheshireKitty said...

Thank goodness you have no interest. Nor do we, if you are going to poke fun at non-native English speakers, feline and human alike.

YetAnotherRIer said...

Dude, I am an immigrant myself and English is not my first language. Any other comments about your incapabilities to admit that you were wrong?

YetAnotherRIer said...

I just have to go back to the conclusion I had many months ago. You are here just for trolling.

YetAnotherRIer said...

"[...] the bus system wasn't originally planned or implemented to have a fee [...]"

Nor was it originally planned or implemented not to have a fee. You missed that point.

Frank Farance said...

CK, having trouble parsing your words. Your original statement "p AND i AND f AND g" (p=planned, i=originally implemented, f=free, g=GDP), but now you say "NOT (p NOR i) AND (NOT f)", whose DeMorgan equivalent is "((NOT p) OR (NOT i)) AND (NOT f) AND g", and then applying Boolean distributive law, it becomes "(NOT p AND NOT f AND g) OR (NOT i AND NOT f AND g)", i.e., "it [the red bus] wasn't planned for a service with a fare in the GDP, OR it [the red bus] wasn't originally implemented as a service with a fare in the GDP". [Note to reader: someone else check my Boolean algebra?]

And even if we quibble over AND vs. OR in the double negatives for an alternate parse "it [the red bus] wasn't planned for a service for with a fare in the GDP and it wasn't implemented as a service with a fare in the GDP", still you've changed your position: previously you've said the it was planned and implemented as free, according to the GDP. There was no such substantiation.

Now you're saying that it was implemented as free, but according to the GDP. Still, there is no tie-in either way to the GDP. The problem here is: you say "X according to the GDP" and try to wiggle out with "well then NOT X according to the GDP", but both are false because the GDP makes not assertions either way about having free service, or having fared service.

Lastly, I don't read any anti-immigrant prejudice into YetAnotherRIer's statement about your English ability. He's just pointing out that you're unable to communicate. There's no question that English is your mother tongue (from your Born In Brooklyn statement). Simply, your statements don't parse easily (as you can see from the deconstruction above) and your draw facts, inferences, etc. from NOTHING. How can you say free service is written about in the GDP when, in fact, you cannot cite it because it doesn't exist within the GDP?

OldRossie said...

That was awesome.

OldRossie said...

Indeed. Hard though, isn't it? I think so...

CheshireKitty said...

It is pointless to argue. No-one comes to this blog to quibble - which is what this represents. The bus wasn't planned and wasn't originally implemented as a service for which a fare would be charged. Anybody can see that is true - it's true in the GDP and it's true since no fare was originally charged . There are many different ways of saying the same thing - why quibble over it?

Not every native-born American speaks English as their first language. Duh. If that were the case, then myriad communities who do not use English routinely, such as the Yiddish-speaking Hasidic community, the massive Latino community, the giant Mandarin and Cantonese-speaking Chinese-American community, the Creyol-speaking Haitian-American community, and so forth and so on, would have died out long ago.

CheshireKitty said...

Oafs are easily awed.

CheshireKitty said...

None of us can say for sure what transpired at UDC back in the 70s, why it was decided not to charge a bus fare at first.

The question was left to the agency carrying out the GDP (RIOC) to decide, since it certainly wasn't specified either way in the GDP.

After all, we are talking about a minibus system, a shuttle on a small island that however did make it possible for the original residents to get to the subway in Queens and go to work. Without the bus system it would have been difficult to "sell" the idea of actually living on RI and the redevelopment scheme as set forth in the GDP might have collapsed.

Thus, the matter was left to the discretion of RIOC/UDC. Perhaps to ensure interest in moving to the island, the bus service was thrown in free of charge, as were utilities, and the rentals were also kept moderate by having the developers agree to enter the M-L system. Whatever UDC's reason, the bus was originally implemented without a fare.

I agree: Charging a bus fare was not set forth in the GDP, nor was it ruled out.

CheshireKitty said...

No reason to dignify this comment with a reply. You should be ashamed of yourself.

And no - I didn't say anything that wasn't true: There was nothing in the GDP about a bus fare, and the bus was originally implemented as a free service. What part of that don't you understand.

Why should I admit I was wrong when I wasn't wrong. Anyway, fellas - this topic is getting tired. I think we should switch to the Youth Center-Police Dept alliance, which represents a significant step in the right direction vis-a-vis lessening of community tension etc.

CheshireKitty said...

RIOC could implement the new policy without actually removing the bus fare boxes but probably wishes to roll out the end of the bus fare along with the removal of the actual fare boxes, which will probably take some time. Probably the parking rates will be doubled once the bus fare is eliminated.

Ratso123 said...

Here is some info: No F trains going to Manhattan for the next 3 weekends. Here are 2 rumors. First rumor: Saturday there will be a race involving approximately 2,000 runners. There will be traffic disruption,road closures, and Tram congestion (no subway). Second rumor: The renovations for Trellis were approved.

APS said...

When is the red bus fare being eliminated?