Subway Losing Riders, and Maybe Conductors

The New York Post brings us the good news that subway ridership is down. Yeah, we know it's supposed to be bad news -- in the same way that falling housing prices are supposed to be bad news -- but we say let's speed this New Depression up till we get to the cheap rents and graffiti.

Anyway, after years of growing overcrowding, year-to-date ridership is down 1.2 percent from 2008 (which somehow translates into a 1.4 percent drop in revenue -- the extra 0.2 percent must be a handling fee). "Late-season snowfalls" have something to do with it, but the Post blames the recession -- "fewer jobs mean fewer people commuting to work."

Enjoy the elbow room; you've need it to reach for your mace or switchblade as the MTA is talking about cutting more conductors. This sort of talk traditionally gets squashed out of safety concerns but in the present cost-conscious, union-busting era it has a better chance of being realized. Second Avenue Sagas is down with it: "The driverless trains along the Paris Metro's Line 14 have been a success." It'll be like Paris, except with more bums and bedbugs.


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