Tuesday, December 13, 2005

No good guys

There's an impending transit strike for midnight on Thursday. Steve Gillard has been following the contract talks and he defends the unions, rightly so (here and here). However a little consideration should be given to the people who pay the bill.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority sucks, no doubt about it. It is one of the most mismanaged agencies in the region and I give them no quarter. They are out to break the unions in the best case, render them impotent at the least. They should open up and give the unions a respectable contract.

On the other hand, the unions are using the ridership as pawns. We pay close to $4000/yr for the Mrs. to ride the Long Island Rail Road and the NYC Subway to work and back. How about showing some consideration toward us? Why do you have to call a strike now? Because it's the Christmas season and ridership is at its peak? Is it because you feel you'll have greater leverage over the city?

You know any gains you receive will be paid for with a rate hike next year, don't you? While you have no control over that, you're not winning any friends from the folks who pay your salaries. Not when your job action inconveniences us at the worst time of year and not when all the ridership sees are increased fares coming in the future. It's slowly becoming cheaper for the Mrs. to drive her Explorer into NYC than to take the train. Do you think we're the only ones doing the math? If you want the support of the ridership, you might want to act like you care about us a little. Let me tell you, if the cost of taking the train comes close to the price for renting a parking space in Manhattan, you've lost another rider.

Go for the gusto, get what you can from the city, but if you alienate the ridership, the MTA will only start laying you off, which is what they're looking to do anyway. Want to be the good guys? Schedule your strike for the end of March so the riders aren't the ones in the middle.

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