Happy 57th birthday to Bronx public transport – Bronx Times
Commuters wait for a train to arrive at Metro-North station in Stamford, Connecticut.
Photo Gabriela Bhaskar / Bloomberg
July 2021 marks the 57th anniversary of the federal government’s support for public transit. The success of public transportation can be attributed to one of the greatest accomplishments of late President Lyndon Johnson, which continues to benefit many Americans today. On July 9, 1964, he enacted the “Urban Mass Transportation Act of 1964”. Subsequently, this resulted in the investment over time of several hundred billion dollars in public transport.
Millions of Americans, many of whom reside in the Bronx today, use various public transportation alternatives on a daily basis. They include local and express bus, ferry, jitney, light rail, subway, and commuter train services. All of these systems consume less fuel and move significantly more people than conventional single occupancy vehicles. Most of these systems are funded by your taxes thanks to President Johnson.
Depending on where you live, consider the alternative to public transportation. Try taking a local or express bus, van, ferry, light rail, commuter train, or subway.
Most have forgotten that until the 1960s, bus drivers made change and drove the bus at the same time. No one would dare bring soda or food on the bus or leave trash behind.
Fast forward to today. Fortunately, we have the MTA and its various operating agencies, including the NYC Transit Subway, the Staten Island Bus and Railroad, the Metro-North Railroad, the Long Island Railroad, and the Westchester Bee Line Bus.
The use of MTA Metro cards allows free transfers between the metro and the bus. This eliminated the two old fare zones, making public transport an even better deal. Purchasing a Metro-North Railroad or MTA monthly pass for the subway / bus reduces the cost per trip and offers virtually unlimited rides.
Elected officials and government employees can return their taxpayer-funded vehicles and join us using public transportation to get around town. In many cases, employers can offer transit vouchers that help subsidize a portion of the costs. Use it and enjoy it. It supports a cleaner environment.
Many employers now allow employees to telecommute and work from home. Others use alternate work schedules that allow staff to avoid traffic jams during peak hours. This saves travel time and can improve mileage per gallon. Join a pool of cars or vans to share the cost of travel.
The ability to move from home to work, school, shopping, entertainment, medicine, library, etc. is a big factor when moving to a new neighborhood. Economically prosperous communities do not depend 100% on the automobile as the only means of mobility. Seniors, students, low and middle income people need these transportation alternatives. Investing in public transport today contributes to economic growth, jobs and a stronger economy. Dollar for dollar, this is one of the best investments we can make.
Larry Penner is a transportation advocate, historian, and writer who previously worked for the New York City office of Region 2 of the Federal Transit Administration.