How to Fix New York’s Totally F*cked Subway System

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The path to real reform and accountability is to end the subsidies from drivers and taxpayers, and make the subway live off its customers once and for all.

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The New York City Subway is the circulatory system for the global capital of finance and media, and today this 114-year-old engineering marvel is coming apart. Stalled trains, signal breakdowns, and constant line closures are complicating the lives of New Yorkers, who ride the trains more than five and a half million times a day.

The MTA, the public agency that runs the subways, is woefully mismanaged, fiscally irresponsible, and politically captured. Thanks to the clout of the Transit Workers Union, subway workers on average make $155,000 in total annual compensation, or more than twice as much as the passengers they serve.

The political response to this crisis has been mainly to devise new ways to collect more money for this troubled operation, such as a new “millionaires tax” or by imposing additional tolls and surcharges on cars.

But a major lesson from the first 114 years of subway history is that giving the MTA more money from outside sources is like bringing an alcoholic to an open bar. The path to real reform and accountability is to make the subway live off its customers once and for all.

Go here for full text, links, and downloadable versions:

Written, shot, and edited by Jim Epstein. Narrated by Nick Gillespie. Interview cameras by Mark McDaniel and Todd Krainin.

“New Baby” and “Subway Song” by Nicola Paone, Public Domain,

“Fun in a Bottle”, “Fast Talkin,” and “C-Funk – Funkorama” by Kevin MacLeod ( Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License

Photo Credits:

Andrew Cuomo: Michael Brochstein/Sipa USA/Newscom

Save Our Subways Protester: Erik McGregor/Sipa USA/Newscom

Bill de Blasio: Paul Martinka / Splash News/Newscom

Make the Rich Pay: Michael Nigro/Sipa USA/Newscom

Congestion pricing now: Erik McGregor / Pacific Press/Newscom

Sheldon Silver and Cuomo: HANS PENNINK/REUTERS/Newscom

Nelson Rockefeller: Danita Delimont Photography/Newscom

NYC Toolbooth: Susan Pease / “Danita Delimont Photography”/Newscom

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