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The Long Island Railroad increased fares by 10% last week. Yes, a 10% increase in fares at a time when prices are falling around the nation and some are worried about deflation. And a 10% price hike when ridership plummeted from what it was just one year ago (quiz time to my econ students, what should happen to prices when demand falls substantially?).

One of my brothers lives a good ways out in Long Island (just over into Suffolk County). He already spends $3,600 per year to ride the subway into Manhattan. A few things worth noting:

  1. His fares will increase by $400 per year.
  2. It already takes him nearly 2 hours to get to his office to do this.
  3. With the internet of other technology, he already works some days from home – soon enough it might be many days per week – what happens to the LIRR revenues then?
  4. It is not unimaginable that more and more offices will locate ON Long Island rather than in the city.
  5. And the kicker, for a system that has 280,000 passengers PER DAY, I am told (need help finding the data here) that the rider fares cover only 50% of the costs of the railroad operation – the rest comes from subsidies – including diverting tolls from already paid off New York Bridges and Tunnels to keep the unions railroad afloat. If passenger rail cannot work in a place like New York, it is a hole bigger than any you could imagine just about anywhere else. Can’t wait for all of that light-rail construction around the U.S, who is going to pay for that? Oh wait, I should just shut up and do my patriotic duty to continue shoveling earnings into the hole to benefit a few hole diggers.

A post on bus service and public transportation is brewing. By the way, I’d remind readers that many of the “rich” folks that have been getting “richer” since the early 1980s also happen to live in costly places like Long Island. Their “real” standard of living is vastly overstated by looking only at income measures.

2 Responses to “Perhaps They’ll Tax the Uhaul Trucks on Their Way Out of State”

  1. Scott says:

    How ’bout comparing that hole to this one:

  2. Harry says:

    Your title says it all. Before one maps one’s destination, though, one should be aware that Ed Rendell is asking for a big increase in state income taxes. You may want to travel a little longer on I-81. With the internet and teleconferencing, why not be like Martin Milner in his Corvette on Route 66? I have a friend from Santa Monica who now runs and owns several apartment buildings near Enid, Oklahoma.

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