Serving suburbs wrong road for transit
Re "Fare Minded" [Main Feature, Feb. 28]: The drastic cuts proposed by the Port Authority are the long-delayed response to the failure in its attempts to generate enough patronage for mass transit in the suburbs. Mass transit cannot be efficient (financially sustainable) in suburban areas: There are too few people per mile. That's why the private bus and trolley companies were all going out of business in the 1950s. The only thing that changed was that, instead of private companies losing their own money, the Port Authority is losing taxpayers' money.
What the Port Authority seems to be attempting to do now is to force suburban riders to drive to mass-transit hubs along the main arteries. This makes the best of a bad situation. It cannot afford to send buses down every suburban street and pick up riders in front of their houses (simplistically put). Those who need mass transit must move to areas of denser development which permit mass transit to more easily pay for itself. And those companies who have moved to rural or suburban areas will either need to also move to denser areas or resign themselves to paying higher salaries so that employees can either buy cars or houses closer to their facilities. This is all the unfortunate and inevitable result of 50 years (and continuing) of government subsidization of the suburbs through road building, utility subsidies, mortgage subsidies, CIA foreign intervention and oil wars.
-- Nicholas Kyriazi, North Side