Thursday, September 20, 2018


Nothing wrong with a bit of substitute transportation, but those of you blessed with good spatial visualization skills (the one aptitude test I always bombed was the rotating "3d" images one) can see the limitations of this.

When the L train goes offline in April, the respective transit agencies have put forth an expected breakdown of just where those 275,000 daily commuters will end up. Up to 80 percent (220,000 riders) will take alternate subway routes. Fifteen percent (41,250) will hop onto the cavalcade of new shuttle bus routes; five percent (13,750) will use temporary ferries; and one to two percent (2,750) will ride bikes. There is also an X factor: the number of passengers who can afford to hail Ubers every day.


All of that stands to change, of course. Buses could get stuck in traffic, and the subway system, which only saw one morning rush hour without delay in August, could descend into overcrowded chaos. (Both seem likely.) But one figure that is certain? As of mid-September, at least 1,500 of those passengers in question, or half a percentage point, have signed on to take The New L, an ultra-lux shuttle that promises breakfast bars, free WiFi, and phone chargers, as it carries L expats through the street-level mess that the shutdown will unleash.

I'm not criticizing this business. No one solution is going to replace all of those trips and 15 person vans are better for congestion than ubers. The point is, however, that there isn't a substitute for "very big vehicle with quick simultaneous boarding and its own dedicated right of way, preferably with the ability to brake and accelerate relatively quickly." Wishing doesn't make it so.