transit strike apprehension

the new york transit workers may be going on strike tomorrow at midnight. and if they do, my commute to work is going to be much, much more difficult.

it’s easy to take the subway for granted, and of course, even easier to take the workers who run the system for granted. and i am, of course, a big supporter of unions and don’t mind a little discomfort if it means that a whole lot of people get paid better.

still, it’s a big unknown and there’s some trepidation associated with that.

i live relatively near a metro north rail station, and in the event of a strike there will be shuttle trains going from that station to grand central. so it’ll just mean a lot more walking, probably leaving home early and leaving work early to avoid the rush, and paying a lot more. it’s $4 per ticket, which i think is one way.

so my commuting is going to be more expensive in the event of a strike. especially if mutliplied by two to get kirk to work as well.

but there are riders who have it much, much worse. people in outlying areas. people on limited incomes.

i have to say that i’m torn about all this. the mta is running a huge surplus now, and certainly the workers deserve a big chunk of that. i’d rather see the workers get the money than some of the idiotic things that the mta has been doing with the extra cash, like giving people half-fares and extra days on their metro cards for a few days during december. big deal. that to me is a waste of money, and i don’t see the point. i know that it saves people a little money, but most people have their transportation expenses budgeted anyway and the little bit you get from that deal personally is a lot of money collectively and i think could be better spent elsewhere.

on the other hand, the workers always target these strike threats when people can least afford to not have transportation. during winter. it’s cold. lots of holiday visitors to the city. heavy ridership. money is tight because of the holidays. of course it is their right to strike whenever they choose, and striking now gives them a lot of leverage in their negotiations.

still, it bothers me that they have such disregard for their passengers. i think they’d have a lot more people on their side if they weren’t so callous about their choices.

there hasn’t been a transit strike since 1980 i think, and i’ve already gone through this strike threat planning twice, i think. and they settled, and nothing ever happened.

it could get ugly, though, if there actually was a strike. i hope it doesn’t come to that.