City Councilman John Liu (D-20) is the transportation voice in the New York City Council. Recently Liu helped pass a law that made it illegal for automobiles to idle for more than one minute in school zones. The idea is that this is a step toward helping children with asthma.
The city may be in a better position today to introduce new legislation than it has been in years past. When Mayor Giuliani pushed for ‘workfare’ as an answer to welfare, there was a lot of opposition from unions. Today, however, there may be some wiggle room to push for similar types of policy that can improve transportation. Instead of looking at raising fares as the only means to cut costs, perhaps there are ways to get people to volunteer in order to get a break on fares.
A monthly Metrocard costs $81. Would I work for three hours a week (12 hours a month) cleaning subway cars for a free Metrocard? You bet I would. That’s a paltry $6.75 an hour. Think you can get subway cars cleaned for less than that? ‘Public works’ projects are the essence of climbing out of economic potholes.
Liu should think about something along these lines. Even if only 20 people (of the 3 million that use the subway every day) signed up, the city gets 240 hours of person-power at a cost that is so low it would otherwise be thought illegal.
But remember, I’m an Italian from Howard Beach, and I just might cover the seats in plastic.