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Will a surcharge reduce congestion in Manhattan?

  • Crystal Ng
  • 18 Days ago
  • 0
  • Recently approved New York state budget includes a surcharge in ride-hailing services.
  • The additional funds will go into the maintenance and upgrade of the subway.
  • Governor Cuomo is moving forward with the congestion-pricing plan.

We live in a generation where everything comes down to money. It will be the ultimate deciding factor in every step that we take and every move that we make. This is more apparent in big cities. Of course, that is evident from the cost of living in one of the most prominent places, New York City. Take Manhattan, for example. The monthly rent of a single bedroom in the Big Apple can easily equate to the rent of an entire house in a remote area like Arizona. The prices of housing and rent is astronomical, and now the lawmakers are hiking up the price of transportation.

Early Saturday, the New York state budget was approved. This means that there is now an additional fee charged for using ride-hailing services like Uber, Lyft, taxis and so on below 96th Street. The newly set charges are as follows. For ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, it will be $2.75. Coming in second are taxis, at the price of $2.50. Last but not least, an additional $0.75 is charged for UberPool, Via and other car pool services.

With the number of cars on the streets of Manhattan, it is no wonder that lawmakers are taking action in order to change that. The detrimental increase in taking car rides is yet another effort towards the congestion-pricing plan. While Governor Cuomo and other advocates are in favor of the plan, legislators in Albany are in opposition. Nonetheless, Gov. Cuomo has intended for this move to be the start of the larger plan to reduce congestion. He is determined to make a more significant improvement by placing a charge to every motor vehicle that roams the streets of Manhattan.

While it may come as bad news to users of ride-hailing services, it is no doubt good news to people who take the subway. This is because they are placing a surcharge on car rides in order to improve the subway. They are anticipating a rough sum of $415 million for the maintenance and upgrade of the subway system.

While it may seem like bad news on a personal scale, it is undeniably a move that could be beneficial on a larger narrative. By raising the prices, it will effectively reduce the number of cars on the road. As it reduces the congestion, it will also lessen the detrimental effects on the environment. This is because the carbon dioxide that contributes to global warming. On top of that, the nitrogen oxides and sulfur oxides are the main cause of acid rain that subsequently alters the pH levels of the water and soil. This, in turn, causes the natural environment to be deadly to the living organisms that are dependent on these resources.

Conversely, in a capitalist society, there is a larger focus on profit-making instead of non-profit causes like the environment. While some may be in support of the natural cause, reality often forces one to be more practical. Who is willing to provide the funds for something that does not directly affect them? While many may disagree, the truth is that people are not the one making the decisions; the numbers are.

America has come so far by employing the system of capitalism, which puts money in the front line. As one of the largest, dominating and developed nations in the world, it is clear that this system works. However, as we approach the later stages of capitalism, people are taking this notion to an extreme. Commodity fetishism has become a normal occurrence, but what can we do?

Perhaps the simplest solution was just staring us in the face. People should attempt to take the subway over car rides. Ifthe subway is just not a viable option, then consider carpooling. Private cars should not be occupied by a single person.

Will the surcharge make much of a difference? After all, it is just a small number.

Featured image via flickr/ Felix Morgner

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The concept of time is lost on me as I venture into the world of business, politics, technology and all other matters concerning recent events. No matter where I am; out in the big cities or isolated in the desert, writing is seemingly the only constant in my life.

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