New York

MTA Big Regrets Free New Years’ Rides of the 80s


The New York Times has a reminiscence of the free New Years Eve’s rides MTA gave passengers in 1984 and 1985 — which, we remember, added an especially festive air to the subways those nights. The alleged purpose was to discourage drunk driving, but the chief effect was to make us all hate the MTA less that usual for a few days.

The story includes a nice quote our own Michael Musto — and a negative review from Bruce McIver, president of the LIRR, which also followed the policy in ’84-’85.

“There were a fair number of groups who got on trains with no particular destination other than to ride the train as a place to have a party,” huffs McIver. There was increased crime, stoppages as police were summoned, rowdyism, ripped seats, and graffiti.

We think it’s a nice summation of New York Then vs. New York Now. The old days were cheaper and more fun, but also more dangerous and inefficient. The new days are safer and better-managed, but less fun and more expensive. Now only Diddy rides you home for free in New York.

(In Toronto they still do the free rides, but it’s not New York — merely the future New York.)

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