» Getting Around NYC

March 6, 2015

NYC_TaxiAccording to Crain’s New York Business, Uber, the app-based taxi hailing service, believes that NYC taxis should be more like Uber. That’s according to Michael Allegretti, Uber’s New York director of public policy. Allegretti made his statements at a NYC Taxi & Limousine Commission (TLC) hearing that was intended to focus on a licensing system proposed for app-based companies like Uber. But Mr. Allegretti flipped the script, instead suggesting the agency take the standards Uber has promulgated over the last four years and make them apply to the rest of the for-hire vehicle industry.

Allegretti claims that if NYC taxis follow the Uber model:

  • Drivers for NYC taxis, livery cabs, limos, and black cars will be paid $30/hour, vs the current average of $15/hour,
  • Customers will get the driver’s license, ID, and contact infomation,
  • Customers will know the full price of their trip before it starts, and
  • Handicapped-accessible taxis will have to pick up customers within 10 minutes.

Many taxi drivers and representatives of the industry disagree and reject Uber’s claims, stating:

  • The value of NYC taxi medallions has dropped considerably with the introduction of app-based hailing systems,
  • Taxis should not arbitrarily raise or lower the fare based on demand or weather (as Uber has been criticized of doing),
Filed under: Driving & Traffic News,Getting Around NYC,Taxis — Tags: , — mtohn @ 1:07 pm
February 12, 2015

Image,_Move_NY_Plan,_TollsCongestion Pricing for anyone driving in NYC is back on the table. With the removal of Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and the MTA’s $15 billion capital-plan deficit, Sam Schwartz’s Move NY plan could fix both congestion and the deficit.

Move NY Plan’s premise is to increase costs of driving into Manhattan where there are good public transport options, and reduce the costs where there are limited public transportation options. As a result, the flow of traffic gets spread around the various NYC bridge and tunnel crossings.


  • East River bridges — implement tolls of $5.54 for E-ZPass users, $8 for others on the Queensborough/Koch Bridge, Manhattan Bridge, Brooklyn Bridge, Williamsburg Bridge.
  • Crossing below 60th Street in Manhattan — implement toll of $5.54 for E-ZPass users, $8 for others.
  • Outer Borough Bridges — reduce tolls from $5 to $2.50
  • Off Peak Hours — lower toll rates
  • NYC Taxis and app-based services — implement a surcharge based on a distance entered below 96th St in Manhattan.



Is free parking really not free at all? If you believe the theory of Geof Glass, a Ph.D. student at Simon Frasier University, we’re all indirectly paying for free parking when we shop at nearby stores.

Glass’ hypothesis is that the cost of free parking is built into the retail store or restaurant’s overhead, and is then passed on to the consumer as part of the cost of items sold. Glass refers to this as an ‘invisible sales tax’ of about 1%.

According to The Washington Post, Glass estimates that rents account for 10% of a retailer’s overall cost, and parking accounts for about 10% of rent, giving a cost of 1% for parking. That retailer then passes that 1% on to consumers.

Glass believes that since governments require developer to building parking, it’s the same effect as if consumers paid a tax and then the government built the parking.

The Post’s article points out that  ‘This is a very simple calculation, and it doesn’t take into account for example the fact that rents are also determined by many factors beyond the cost of constructing a building (like the sudden popularity of its location). It also doesn’t consider that retailers set prices with many other factors in mind beyond fixed costs (like the desire by, say, CVS, to standardize prices across locations).’

The main takeaway from the article is that if you don’t drive, you’re essentially subsidizing drivers, since you’re paying that extra 1% to retailers and not getting the benefit of that 1%. It’s analogous to people who don’t use NYC subways or buses subsidizing those who do use public transportation through the portion of the Highway Trust Fund that covers mass transit. And it’s the same for single people or families who send their children to private school still paying school taxes.

Filed under: Buses,Driving & Traffic News,Parking News,Subways — Tags: , — mtohn @ 11:01 am
January 28, 2015

NYC_TaxiOn January 1, 2015 a 30-cent Improvement Surcharge went into effect for all NYC taxi rides.

Filed under: Taxis — Tags: — mtohn @ 6:02 pm
January 22, 2015

Uber’s taxi hailing app has certainly made a small dent in the world of using a NYC taxi, though not without a series of legal battles and some really bad PR highlighting Uber’s surge pricing on New Year’s Eve and other holidays.

In December 2014, NYC’s City Council decided that it’s time for NYC to have its own app, rather than let Uber, Lyft, and Hailo have all the fun, and business. Councilman Benjamin Kallos, who represents the Upper East Side and Roosevelt Island, proposed the app.

Chicago is also considering its own app for e-hailing taxis, as reported by The New York Times.

Stay tuned, and we’ll see how this might affect congestion that comes with NYC driving.

Filed under: Taxis — Tags: , — mtohn @ 7:26 am
January 20, 2015

New Yorkers spend a lot of time complaining about traffic, and how too many cars on the road (and double parked delivery trucks) contribute to the insane level of congestion. Is it really that there are too many cars, though? We found an interesting article wtih another perspective — let’s compare the actual space taken up by cars, buses, bicycles, and real people.


City Metric’s article starts with an image from a protest in Latvia where cyclists used neon pieces of wood to create the frame of a regular vehicle, and attached it to their bikes. The result? Each bicycle now took up the space of a car. A good visual impact.

The point of the moving protest was to highlight that whilst experts usually point to pollution, congestion, and deaths caused by cars — we should also focus on the sheer size of vehicles and the space they take on our roads. Most cars carry 1 – 3 people, whereas the same space could be used for 6 bicyclists or one row in a public bus.

Image,_Cycling_Promotion_Fund,_space_taken_by_carsNow check out this fascinating photo study from Cycling Promotion Fund. This group shows the space taken up by 69 people — walking, in bicycles, in a public bus, and in vehicles.

Just something to think about.

Filed under: Bicycles — Tags: , , , — mtohn @ 9:58 am
February 22, 2014

Transit Wireless, the company installing wireless access in NYC subways, has promised that there will be Wifi signals in all 277 NYC subway stations by 2017.

The next NYC subway stations to get Wifi signals are:

Grand Central Station Image,_NYC_Subway_4-5-6__icon Image,_NYC_Subway_S_icon Image,_NYC_Subway_7_icon


34th St/ Herald Square Image,_NYC_Subway_B-D_iconImage,_NYC_Subway_F-M_icon Image,_NYC_Subway_N-Q-R_icon
Bryant Park Image,_NYC_Subway_B-D_iconImage,_NYC_Subway_F-M_icon

If you’re one of the 250 million subway riders with cellular service on AT&T, T-Mobile, Spring or Verizon, you’ll get a wireless signal at the platforms and mezzanines. Not inside the tunnels, though.

Read more at Daily News.

Filed under: Subways — Tags: , , , — mtohn @ 11:59 am
December 20, 2013

We just read an interesting study reported by The Atlantic Cities, claiming that the NYC bike lanes are actually good for business. During NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s tenure (2002 – 2012), more than 290 miles have been carved out of NYC streets for bicycle lanes. Many of these NYC bike lanes are ‘protected’, meaning they are created next to the curb and protected from traffic by a lane of NYC parking.

When these lanes were first installed, many drivers and local businesses were concerned that taking away one lane for vehicle traffic would create more NYC congestion and traffic, and be bad for the local businesses.

Columbus Ave, Upper West Side

NYC DOT had built a protected bike lane and pedestrian safety islands while narrowing travel lanes for motor vehicles on Columbus Ave. According to the tax data, revenue was up 20 percent over the baseline in the second year after bike lanes were implemented in the area. This compares to an area just south on Columbus Ave without bike lanes, where revenue was up 9 percent.

The Hub, South Bronx

The Hub is a congested and chaotic intersection in a working-class neighborhood of the South Bronx, Read more…

Filed under: Bicycles — mtohn @ 2:13 pm

NYC Wayfinding_Signs_12-13

It’s with great joy that I welcome Walk NYC, NYC”s latest signage, which clearly shows streets, landmarks, NYC subways, WiFi hotspots, and neighborhood names.

Walk NYC’s signs meet some of the challenges of navigating our great city:

Everyone is going in a different direction, at a different pace. Some of us are in a hurry, some are walking at an excruciatingly slow tourist pace, some are heading towards a specific place, some are simply walking as the stores beckon us. Some of use want a subway, some want to walk, some want a CitiBike, some want a NYC taxi. This is so different from typical wayfinding challenges, like airports and hotels, where most people are entering and exiting from core places and at the same general pace. But in NYC, we’re all headed somewhere else.

I know more than you know.  A local may be looking for a specific address or cross-street, whereas a tourist might just be trying to figure out Read more…

Filed under: Bicycles,Buses,Getting Around NYC,Subways,Taxis — Tags: , — mtohn @ 1:03 pm
December 16, 2013

With Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio trying to improve daily life for NYC residents, Crain’s New York Business has gathered a list of ways to make getting around NYC easier. Here are some ideas for walking, NYC driving, NYC parking, subways, buses, ferries, deliveries, pay by phone, NYC Muni-Meters, bike lanes, and pedestrian plazas:

NYC Parking Ideas

Text to pay NYC Muni meters. Allow drivers to register a credit card with the city, text the number of the Muni meter to register their location, and pay the NYC parking fare, says Michael Woloz, a lobbyist for the taxi industry. No more fumbling for change, running out to feed the meter or waiting for approval in the freezing cold.

Neighborhood parking permits. Residents would pay an annual fee to park in their neighborhood. Everyone else would pay a metered or daily rate.

NYC Driving Ideas

Give NYC control of all the roads within the five boroughs. Read more…

Older Posts »