Thursday, July 24, 2008

$600,000 worth of text messages

The MTA again has been able to spend more money while they are talking about raising fares to close their budget gap. Communication has never been one of the MTA's strong points, but I would argue that we could use the money to improve service on existing subway and bus lines. Here is what the new contract will provide:
That notification service will be unveiled in September. The authority has signed a $600,000 contract — $120,000 a year for five years — with the MIS Sciences Corporation, an Internet services company, to run a text-messaging service that will provide real-time alerts about subway, bus and train disruptions to millions of commuters. (The Daily News reported some details of the new text-messaging system on Sunday.)

Under the contract, the company must be able to send out at least one million messages in five minutes, far more than what the M.T.A. can do on its own. MIS Sciences provides a similar service to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

and yet,
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority will propose a substantial increase in transit fares and bridge and tunnel tolls next year to help close a widening budget gap of nearly $900 million, according to an official at the authority.

Though the precise amount of the fare and toll increase has yet to be determined, the authority will seek to increase the revenue it gets from those sources by 8 percent. If approved by the authority’s board, the increase would take effect next July and would follow a toll and fare increase in March of this year.

With another fare hike down the road, it might just be time (for those of you who haven't already) to dust of that bike you haven't ridden in years.

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