New York's subway riders are going Galt

Like public transit?  Want more public transit, as the lefties prescribe?  Well, here's your public transit: the New York subway system is out of money and now in a "death spiral," according to a report in the Guardian:

Officials at the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) warned last week that without a major infusion of cash, they will have to drastically cut service or increase fares on the system that carries millions of New Yorkers around the city.

Here are the ugly details:

The system's financial straits have gotten worse in part because it has fewer riders, and is collecting less money in fares.  Expected passenger revenue over a five-year period has dropped by $485m since July.

"They've entered this death spiral," said Benjamin Kabak, who runs the transit website Second Avenue Sagas.  "The subway service and the bus service has [sic] become unreliable enough for people to stop using it.  If people aren't using it, there's less money, and they have to keep raising fares without delivering better service."

Turns out nobody wants to ride it.  It's not hard to understand why.  When subways are overcrowded as well as loaded with bums, pickpockets, fare-jumpers, manspreaders, people eating smelly food, and perverts, and the system does nothing to stop them, well, commuters start looking for other means of transport – especially if they are constantly late or erratic about coming.  Quality of life matters, and women, for starters, don't want to get groped, let alone stand for an hour in high heels or carrying groceries.

It's called Going Galt.

That's the least of it.  Here are some recent news headlines from just this year alone.

Would you like to take a ride in that?  How would you like to be dependent on that for your transportation, given that New York is a compact city and the subway is billed as the best means of getting around?  The left loves public transport, and across the country, it's trying to get everyone to embrace it – but now we see this.

There's a sense that things are getting worse, so people are just voting with their feet at this point, taking Uber, their cars, maybe an illegal bus van, or else biking, scootering, or walking.  Why put up with the smell, mess, crime, delay, and hassle?  I've lived in New York and know that subways can work.  But they can work only if there are strict rules, and those rules are strictly focused on the ultimate aim of ensuring the comfort of the paying customer along with reliability.  Rule of law, in other words, is critical if a system wants to keep people riding.

In socialist New York, which is run by Mayor Bill de Blasio, the cops are the bad guys, and the quality of life problems are just "oh," so nothing is ever going to get done.  What's worse, with zero enforcement of standards, the "broken window" theory takes hold, and the crimes accelerate, which is the trend we see now.  Net result: People stay the heck away, and the cash no longer flows in.

What do we get?  Approximately the same thing we see going on in Venezuela: the smothering love of the state suddenly becoming just smothering – and the money running out.

Yet amazingly, the left wants you to get out of your car and take one of these collective riding horrors.

Worse still, it means to run other parts of New York precisely on this model.  Thomas Lifson today wrote about how Bill de Blasio has confessed to having a socialist yen to run every aspect of New York's housing market, telling everyone who gets housing and who doesn't and how and which and at what price.  His will to absolute power is incredible.

Lifson observes:

De Blasio cannot admit that New York's rent control law and regulation of construction is a major reason that housing has failed to meet demand in that city. Where government does not interfere in housing too much – in fast growing cities like Houston and Phoenix – housing is not a "crisis" because supply can respond to demand.  He'd rather that people have to petition his city government to get the apartment they want.  Bureaucrats in charge!  No danger of favoritism there[.] ...

Instead, de Blasio's model is for government to create a crisis, and then use that crisis to extort even more power from the citizenry. 

It's all visible there in his running of the New York subway, which is now in its "death spiral."

Image Credit: Adam E. Moreira via Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0.

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