Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Socio-Economic Impact of the NYC Mass Transit Shutdown

Much of the talk about the massive Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) strike in NYC centers around its impact on resilient urban professionals and office workers. We here and see a lot about these cats rollerblading, biking and walking into Manhattan, which - on a positive note - is good in this obese-ridden society in desperate need of exercise.

Jack McCafferty offered his take during a recent McCafferty File segment on CNN's Situation Room, referring to "empty streets" in Manhattan on his way to work and the convenience of telecommuting offered by a "computer and a phone."

Telecommuting is definitely the environmentally-sound and cost-effective wave of the working future. We hope we get there someday. But, right now, that doesn't address people in NYC who don't have the office jobs or who regard mass transit as a critical life-line to working class, manual labor jobs and other key items such as medicine and groceries. We're not hearing anything about that: about working class folk and their children struggling to keep warm while walking through freezing temperatures in the teens. There is a disparity in transportation use and accessibility between the haves and have-nots. That story seems hidden behind the headlines. We hear about the impact this strike will have on city government pockets, but we'd like to get some insight on what it will do to the pocket of the Big Apple's dispossessed.