Today, City Councilmembers Bill de Blasio and John Liu unveiled a Subway Riders' Bill of Rights; here's coverage from Second Avenue Sagas and First and Court. I think that all those rights are good, but there's at least one right that I think is missing. In the spirit of Isaac Asimov, and to save our representatives from some renumbering, I'll make it the Zeroth Right.
0. The status of "person," not to be ignored when things like bridge tolls and congestion pricing come up.
This kind of dismissal has been coming from all kinds of people, but I'll focus on Councilmember Liu, who in several statements made in response to proposals to toll the "free" 59th Street, Williamsburg, Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, claims that the tolls would be unfair to "Queens and Brooklyn residents."
"you would be inhibiting people from Queens and Brooklyn from transportation into Manhattan, which is just not acceptable."
"People don't want it, all over Brooklyn and Queens"
"unfair to Queens and Brooklyn residents"
Thanks, Councilmember! What about all us subway riders from Brooklyn and Queens who never drive over those bridges, but pay for their maintenance with our income and sales taxes? That toll money could provide some subway and bus improvements to offset the driving subsidy.
What about all us Queens and Brooklyn residents who have to deal with people driving through our neighborhoods to get to the "free" bridges instead of staying on the highway to the tunnels and toll bridges? Isn't that unfair to us?
We just got stuck with an increase in Metrocard prices because you've refused to charge people even a fraction of the cost of maintaining these bridges. Because you've refused to consider us as people, people who work, shop and pay taxes. Maybe if you start giving us our Zeroth Right we'll have a chance of getting the First Right on your list.