Frustrated New York Subway Riders Struggling with Over-Population Related Delays

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By Joe Guzzardi

Joe is a CAPS Senior Writing Fellow whose commentaries about California's social issues have run in newspapers throughout California and the country for nearly 30 years. Contact Joe at joeguzzardi@capsweb.org, or find him on Twitter @joeguzzardi19.

The writer's views are his own.

September 14, 2017
NYC subway scene
75,000 subway delays monthly, overpopulation contributes to one-third of them.

New York Times reporters have linked the city’s subway delays to overpopulation. As far-fetched as this may sound to the unaware, those that don’t follow the news about the nation’s soaring population, Times journalists Emma G. Fitzsimmons, Ford Fressenden and K.K. Rebecca Lai wrote in their June 27, 2017 story titled "Every New York City Subway Line is Getting Worse: Here’s Why" that “the major cause of subway delays is a factor that basically did not exist 15 years ago: overcrowding.”

Trains slow down when the conductor spots hordes of passengers at each station waiting to board. In Metropolitan Transit Authority terms, the phrase is “dwell time.” Since the 1990s, subway ridership has sparked sharply, from four million daily passengers to six million each day, all traveling on a rail system that’s been basically unchanged for decades.

The story noted that the subway system needs is more capacity, trains that run more frequently and new lines to carry “the growing population.” Lamentably, the Times concluded that no subway upgrades are likely in the immediate future since “these fixes would cost billions of dollars and could take decades to roll out."

The permanent solution to subway overcrowding is fewer people that need to get from one end of town to the other. The New York City Department of Planning, citing the U.S. Census Bureau, estimates that the city’s population is, as of July 16, 8.5 million, an increase of 362,500 residents since the April 2010 decennial census count. City planners said that the growth is the most robust in more than 50 years, and demographers predict that the city will hit nine million in 2040.

The Times ignored the elephant in the room---the immigration variable in the city’s population growth. In 2015, more legal and illegal immigrants lived in New York than in any city worldwide, 3.2 million. The city’s last two mayors, Michael Bloomberg and Bill de Blasio are passionate immigration advocates, and have sent welcoming messages to illegal immigrants to come to New York where, naturally, they’ll have to take the subway to get to work.

Solving subway overcrowding when thousands of new immigrants arrive year after year is impossible regardless of how much new rail is put down. New York’s transportation crisis is a good example of why the RAISE Act that would lower overall immigration, and slow refugee resettlement in major cities like New York is vital.

The RAISE Act, just beginning the congressional process, will need all the help it can get from the majority of citizens who want less immigration and less crowding. Please go to the CAPS Action Alert page here to tell your Senators to support RAISE, and to slow immigration-driven population growth.
 
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