MTA Pretends 'Unlimited' Means 90

from the math-is-hard dept

We've seen how broadband providers and mobile carriers have regularly been confused by the term unlimited, and now it appears that the New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is going down the same road. To deal with its budget crunch the MTA is planning to say that its unlimited ride cards are actually quite limited. A monthly "unlimited" card will get you 90 rides. A weekly one will get you 21 rides. Basically, "unlimited" means 3 rides per day. As someone who spends a lot of time in NY, and frequently gets unlimited weekly cards, I know I use it more than 21 times in a week, especially when I'm bouncing around from meeting to meeting during a day. The MTA might want to be careful, of course. Companies have been fined for falsely stating unlimited when things are not actually unlimited.


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    kyle clements (profile), Jul 14th, 2010 @ 10:09pm

    any limit = not unlimited

    If a service has any sort of limit, then calling it 'unlimited' is a blatant lie.

    In Toronto, with the ridiculous metropass prices, it's ONLY worthwhile getting an unlimited monthly pass if you plan to use it 3 times a day or more.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 14th, 2010 @ 10:33pm

    beyond lies, its called false advertising, which is a crime

     

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    Pixelation, Jul 14th, 2010 @ 10:47pm

    What they say...

    is "unlimited". What they mean is unlimited until it eats into our bottom line. Then it's what they tell you it is.

    The word unlimited in advertising is now a red flag.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:11am

    unlimited?

    At my gym, they've introduced these 'rehydration stations'.
    So they tried to have me pay for unlimited* access to those.
    Of course, 'unlimited' means after getting 1 litre, The station locks me out for the next hour.

    I politely explained notunlimited=limited!=unlimited. That and that they're not getting my fingerprint (which is needed to use said fancy water fountains).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:14am

    Kinda like the Australian ISP Exetel; "We offer a metered "peak" period and an unlimited "off-peak" period (unless of course you download too much then you will be asked to find another ISP or be disconnected, but we wont actually tell you what "too much" is, we'll just let you live in fear).

     

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    Trerro, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:02am

    Not just those guys

    Webhosts are famous for this BS as well. Unlimited storage and bandwidth for $5/month! Yeah... do I get a bridge with that? :P

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 3:07am

    But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

    Significantly undermines your case. Your business travel expenses are deductible. You're saying that you want the citizens of NY to underwrite unlimited *business* use of MTA. -- It may even be that such use is explicitly *prohibited*. Better check that before filing suit. Big distinction in law for public roads being free to citizens, but *not* for commercial uses, same applies here.

    "Unlimited" may be a bad choice of word -- find another meaning "beyond the range of normal but with an upper limit" -- but I think it's adequately true for *non-business* users.

     

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      Red Monkey (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 3:32am

      Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

      This makes no sense at all. Just because an expense is deductible doesn't mean you're not supposed to try and save money. Are you saying you can't use the subway for "business" travel? So are you saying that if it's business travel you can only take taxis and help clog up the streets and burn gas?

      What's next? Business travelers can't drink from a public water fountain because bottled water expenses are deductible?

       

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        out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 3:52am

        Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

        I'm saying what I've written. There *is* a distinction between public and commercial uses of public roads, and likely in New York includes subways too. I was just struck by our host's blithe assumption that he can -- after *some* point -- impose costs on the citizens of NY.

        I think the legal objection is likely. Suppose that a business bought a single card and let a number of employees use it for "unlimited" travel. Is that not cheating the public?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:02am

          Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

          Suppose that a business bought a single card and let a number of employees use it for "unlimited" travel. Is that not cheating the public?


          Only if the purchase contract says only the purchaser can use it.
          Cheating the public? Please. If you don't want people doing unlimited travel, don't sell them the means to do unlimited travel. It's not that hard a concept.

           

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            out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

            Our host's objection is to the word "unlimited", when in fact the MTA *isn't* selling the "means to do unlimited travel", only what they consider a reasonable amount. I'm surprised that business types don't get the practical point that it's not going to *be* unlimited because no business can take on unlimited costs. -- This isn't like network traffic, this actually requires *fuel* and other items to be used up.

             

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              PRMan, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 6:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

              They'd get it a lot easier if it was called "21 rides/week" instead of "unlimited", which is false advertising.

               

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          robertbranch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:30am

          Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

          Why should "the citizens of NY" underwrite anyone's travel methods? Government is the only entity that can lose money on a "business" and have people think that is ok. The NY MTA is projecting a $400 Million budget shortfall plus another $135 Million in reduced revenue from less riders. That's HALF A BILLION DOLLARS for the subway system in ONE CITY.

          The MTA should sell the subway to a private firm who can make it into a profitable business.

          The problem isn't the MTA breaking an implicit contract with the customers who have the unlimited ride card, the problem is government operating this at all.

          Capitialism is Boss!

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:01am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

            no. The MTA is not a business. It is a semi-private government agency. It also manages the largest public transportation network in the world. It's not supposed to be profitable, only stable enough to invest in infrastructure improvements. Every public transportation privatization has ended in total failure. private companies have no interest in improving the (very expensive) infrastructure, only in--as you pointed out--profits. If the MTA were privatized we'd only have 3 subway lines all in Manhattan, and the fare would be $5 at least.

             

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              blah, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 6:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

              infrastructure improvements....
              the system is so shitty its just patched here and there
              but at least make the subways CLEAN.
              places like hong kong have 24 hour cleaning people on standby
              and they acutally know how to clean up garbage, not just push it back and forth
              mta should just fire everyone except people who makes an effort actually care about running the subway system

               

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            out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

            The A/C above made most of my answer: public transportation serves public purposes valuable enough to be subsidized, but in no case could it be made profitable on its own.

            I'll just add that if present trends continue, you're going to get all the capitalism that you can stand, and will discover that *you* are not among the cronies to profit, but among the victims.

             

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            Red Monkey (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 8:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

            Yeah, it's the usual knee jerk "private business does everything better". Kind of like BP, Lehman and Enron.

            Besides the MTA is more than transportation, it's a rolling hotel where the bums can spend cold nights for the price of a token. Not sure what business could duplicate that.

             

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          Richard (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 7:30am

          Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

          There *is* a distinction between public and commercial uses of public roads,


          But NOT between private and business use. Travelling alesmen use the roads under the same T's and C's as pensioners.

          Commercial means somethign compeltely different. In the subway case "commercial use " would mena renting your pass out to others for money - which is definitely already (and uncontroversially) breaking the rules.

          I visited New York a few years back as a tourist and the unlimited weekly subway pass was a godsend. A limit of 3 rides a day would have made it near pointless (and very inconvenient).

           

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            out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 7:56am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

            "Travelling alesmen use the roads under the same T's and C's as pensioners."

            Er... I'll assume "salesmen", and that "pensioners" means citizens on their private business. -- Citizens *own* the roads, and pay for their upkeep. Corporations do *not* own the roads, yet, and when they do, there'll be such gouging as will convert mis-guided "capitalists".

            But your specific flaw is that when travel expense is deducted from taxes, then it *is* commercial travel, and on a different basis in *legalities* (as our host mentioned for possibility) than by any "natural" citizen on his private affairs. Traveling sales people (or truckers) do *not* have an inherent right to use *our* roads. -- Just because it's not *practical* to collect all possible fees and fares on this basis doesn't mean it's a trivial point.

            Your use of "unlimited" on the visit puts you with those who want a price break, that's all. -- Always happens that the "subsidized" class demands *more*. It's time to quit subsidizing you bums, just proves that the mismanagement mentioned elsewhere is in charging the people who should *most* appreciate the service too little.

             

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              nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 9:15am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

              But your specific flaw is that when travel expense is deducted from taxes, then it *is* commercial travel, and on a different basis in *legalities* (as our host mentioned for possibility) than by any "natural" citizen on his private affairs.

              Can you specify exactly what you're talking about here? Are you saying someone driving for business purposes has to abide by different rules? If so, what are they? If not, what are you saying? Links might be helpful. I am just not understanding your point.

               

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                out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 9:41am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

                I'll be brief. In the US, citizens own the roads, and as tenants in common have an inherent "right to travel" over that land in "the ordinary conveyance of the day", that is, a right to drive, regardless that states enforce a driver's *license* at gunpoint. Supreme Court, 1928, I think, based on common law all the way back, as without the right to travel, you could be literally starved on your own land; automobiles don't change that basic right, any more than a horse does. Don't have a link for you, but can be found if you know what you're looking for. -- You'll likely find a nest of vipers in human form called lawyers who insist that it ain't so. But they're minions of the system and profit from it; their own licenses to practice law are for commercial purposes, and traffic infractions are a lucrative field for them. -- Perhaps you'll be amazed to learn that "traffic infractions are not a crime".

                Commercial uses are entirely different because of *money* made, but I'm not strong on the reasons and don't entirely support it. But, used to be common for farm trucks to have "Not For Hire" signs on them to denote that farmers have a *right* to use the public roads.

                SO, if not specific in answer, you *will* be able to find a distinction between a citizen's and commercial driving. But the gov't has basic premises so confused these days that most think that you *must* get a piece of plastic from the gov't to show that you have *permission* to use land (roads) that you own as tenant in common to go about the ordinary matters necessary for life and enjoyment. It ain't so.

                 

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                  nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:43am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

                  Your first part I'm ok with - we have a right to use public lands (with some limitations). It's the second part I'm not clear on, about business-related travel being different. If you want to explain further or provide citations I'm listening. If not, whatever, it was a tangent anyway.

                   

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                  Red Monkey (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:11am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

                  "In the US, citizens own the roads"

                  Really? I guess if a citizen has an ownership interest in a road as tenants-in-common he should be able to sell that ownership interest to someone else.

                  Does anyone want to buy my ownership interest in the Brooklyn Bridge??

                   

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          Red Monkey (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 8:11am

          Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

          Yeah but that applies to non-business travel as well. The purchase contract says the card is non-transferable, whether for business travel or otherwise.

          There are some roads that say "no commercial traffic" (like the Merrit Pkwy), but that's about it. The streets in NY are shared by commercial traffic, non-commercial traffic, and even the occasional terrorist.

           

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      Jamie, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:19am

      Are you on crack?

      A huge number of the commuters who use the MTA every day are using it for business travel. Sure, lots of working stiffs, but do you think this is a Disneyland shuttle we're talking about?

      I defy you to find any such distinction in the MTA policy. The best you'll do is find restrictions on selling things on the train and rules disallowing the transporting of bodegas and cows.

       

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        out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:00am

        Re: Are you on crack?

        MTA policy isn't the whole of the law, just the specifics.

        Just because it's not practical to put license plates on commercial travelers as is done on commercial *vehicles* doesn't change that businesses are using public property for commercial gain, and that distinction on public roads is *quite* well established in Supreme Court rulings.

         

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          Jamie, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 6:37am

          This is just trollishly weak

          - I have no idea why you're trying to analogize driving to riding the MTA. Do you think I have to wear a seatbelt on the train, too?

          - Even if there were such an applicable analogy, Mike's 'business use' still wouldn't be analogous. He doesn't run an ice cream truck or a shipping company. Or do you think, say, freelance photographers or contract programmers need commercial plates?

          - If you know of some law forbidding commercial travelers, or in some way treating them differently, on the MTA, post it. If you don't, admit you're just making crap up.

          - Even if you could find such a rule, there's still no reason to concentrate on commercial use - many millions of rides per day are for people commuting to work, or going shopping, or heading to clubs, or... any of the many things people do in the city. Some months I certainly exceed 90 trips/month, and it sucks that, after mismanaging their finances for decades (including keeping multiple sets of books) they're trying to extract more while they're cutting service and giving management raises all the time.

          Troll, troll troll your boat...

           

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            out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 7:30am

            @ Jamie Re: This is just trollishly weak

            I'm not analogizing *driving* to riding the MTA, I'm saying that *commercial* use of public roads is pretty much same case as *business* travel on MTA.

            If anyone's travel on the MTA is deducted as a business expense, then it's definitely commercial use, and moreover, an indirect but real subsidy by taxpayers, precisely because the travel is for profit, but deducted, meaning the actual fare is at a reduced rate.

            I'm not making up that *business* travelers use the MTA, and that's the only important point. Since you admit that you're an above average user, then your goal is to beat the system at least on the individual fare rate. Fact is *you* are trying to extract more out of taxpayers than you're paying for. Has *nothing* to do with mismanagement as such; in fact, they're simply trying to "re-manage" to meet new conditions, but of course *you* who benefit from subsidies regard that as an attempt to rob you. -- You literally want a Free Ride!

             

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              nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 9:22am

              Re: @ Jamie Re: This is just trollishly weak

              Since you admit that you're an above average user, then your goal is to beat the system at least on the individual fare rate.

              His goal is to spend as little as possible to meet his needs (without breaking any rules). This is both rational and ethical.

              Fact is *you* are trying to extract more out of taxpayers than you're paying for.

              It is not his responsibility to ensure he's paying enough to give sufficient return to the taxpayers. The MTA needs to charge him enough money. Don't point the finger at the customer who is accepting the deal offered to him.

              *you* who benefit from subsidies regard that as an attempt to rob you.

              What is your definition of subsidy? And where did anyone say anything about robbery? The complaint is about false advertising. If the MTA had just said "we're not offering unlimited tickets anymore" plenty of people would have complained, but it really would not have been much of a story.

              You literally want a Free Ride!

              How do you figure he wants a free ride when he's paying for his ride? Why are you making stuff up?

               

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                out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 9:50am

                Re: Re: @ Jamie Re: This is just trollishly weak

                @Nasch: He wants unlimited rides for a fixed price. That tends toward free. Don't quibble about a cliche that's exactly applicable.

                 

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                  Nastybutler77 (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:20am

                  Re: Re: Re: @ Jamie Re: This is just trollishly weak

                  First, let's start with the most obvious truth here. You're an idiot.

                  Second, the MTA said you were buying an "unlimited" pass. By definition that is unlimited rides for a fixed price. Why wouldn't you expect to get what they said you'd get?

                  And it doesn't tend towards free as there are a fixed number of rides in any given day. Even if you spent all day riding, you'd be pretty far off from infinite as you suggest with your "tends toward" wording.

                  You're cliche isn't exactly applicaple, and you're one of the biggest dolts to troll this site. You can keep arguing about this all you want, but it's pretty obvious you are just plain wrong. If you're unable to see that, then you really are an idiot. If you're arguing just to troll, then, by all means keep it up.

                   

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                    out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:59am

                    @ Nastybutler77: I don't need your permission, but thanks.

                    Name-calling means only that you're annoyed by an argument that you can't refute. I win by default.

                     

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                      Nastybutler77 (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 1:33pm

                      Re: @ Nastybutler77: I don't need your permission, but thanks.

                      Name-calling means only that you're annoyed by an argument that you can't refute. I win by default.

                      You're right about one thing. I am annoyed. But not because I can't refute your lame arguement. The fact that others have already done so is why I choose not to waste further time doing so. For example:

                      "by nasch(profile) , Jul 15th, 2010 @ 9:22am
                      Since you admit that you're an above average user, then your goal is to beat the system at least on the individual fare rate.

                      His goal is to spend as little as possible to meet his needs (without breaking any rules). This is both rational and ethical.

                      Fact is *you* are trying to extract more out of taxpayers than you're paying for.

                      It is not his responsibility to ensure he's paying enough to give sufficient return to the taxpayers. The MTA needs to charge him enough money. Don't point the finger at the customer who is accepting the deal offered to him.

                      *you* who benefit from subsidies regard that as an attempt to rob you.

                      What is your definition of subsidy? And where did anyone say anything about robbery? The complaint is about false advertising. If the MTA had just said "we're not offering unlimited tickets anymore" plenty of people would have complained, but it really would not have been much of a story."

                      That is just one example of many where others have tried to explain to you that you don't know what you're talking about.

                      The name calling is as necessary as you're repeated illogical posts. I just call 'em as I see 'em, and you're a real doozie.

                      It seems you're looking to "win" this arguement and you'll take it any way you can. If a default victory is what it takes to make you go away, then by all means take your "prize" and go bother some other blog.

                       

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                  nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:38am

                  Re: Re: Re: @ Jamie Re: This is just trollishly weak

                  He wants unlimited rides for a fixed price. That tends toward free.

                  If his number of rides tends to infinity, yes. But it doesn't.

                  Don't quibble about a cliche that's exactly applicable.

                  I'm not sure, but I think you're saying that it's exactly applicable to refer to a limit of 90 rides per month as unlimited? And pointing out that a limit of 90 rides a month is not unlimited is quibbling? Wow. I hope I misunderstood you, because that is just dumb.

                   

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                    out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:18am

                    @ nasch: Don't you ever run out of questions?

                    Or have anything but comments on other's posts? Do you have a position on the topic? Have you noticed how easy questions are? Do you think that I can't make them up too? Do you think you're so clever that your "Eliza"-like technique of paraphrasing and adding a question mark escapes my notice?

                     

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                      nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

                      Re: @ nasch: Don't you ever run out of questions?

                      Don't you ever run out of questions?

                      Yeah, usually when they actually get answered I do.

                      Or have anything but comments on other's posts?

                      Um... yes.

                      Do you have a position on the topic?

                      Yes, my position is that businesses and governments should not be permitted to lie in their advertising and marketing.

                      Do you think you're so clever that your "Eliza"-like technique of paraphrasing and adding a question mark escapes my notice?

                      Perhaps I wasn't clear. I'll rephrase. Are you saying that it's exactly applicable to refer to a limit of 90 rides per month as unlimited? Are you saying that pointing out that a limit of 90 rides a month is not unlimited is quibbling? I hope not, because that's dumb. If that is not what you meant by "Don't quibble about a cliche that's exactly applicable," then please explain, because I don't understand.

                       

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                  adsf, Jul 18th, 2010 @ 6:39pm

                  Re: Re: Re: @ Jamie Re: This is just trollishly weak

                  i pay a fix price of 45 dollars each month for my internet service w/o bandwidth caps
                  so it's free.

                  protip: learn2domath

                   

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              Jamie, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:56am

              Sigh

              I'm saying that *commercial* use of public roads is pretty much same case as *business* travel on MTA.

              And I'm saying that's absurd. You may wish there were some distinction that would make a difference here, but you haven't demonstrated that there is one. You know, like a statutory, or even MTA-initiated, rule that creates one. And even if you weren't just trolling, and actually went looking, you wouldn't be able to demonstrate a distinction based on commercial activity for charging more to ride, because it doesn't exist.

              If anyone's travel on the MTA is deducted as a business expense, then it's definitely commercial use

              So?

              As an aside, what do you think of the passes that companies buy at reduced rates for their employees? Think there might be a subsidy for commercial gain there?

              Since you admit that you're an above average user, then your goal is to beat the system at least on the individual fare rate. Fact is *you* are trying to extract more out of taxpayers than you're paying for.

              In a word: Bullshit. If the MTA has problems (and it does - the people cooking the books in that case, by and large, are still in charge), it isn't because I've been happily paying the $94/mo. Fact is, the single-fare price is below cost, too, and I don't see any donation collectors, so by your definition, anyone who gets on the train for any reason at any rate is "trying to extract more out of taxpayers than [they're] paying for". And by the way: did it ever happen to occur to you that an individual buying month passes for years at a go might be... I dunno... a tax payer?

              Yeah, I want them to quit raising rates. Fire the scammers that run the MTA, really clean house and see what sort of income/expense is actually in play, and come on back if the fare actually needs to change. Or if you want to talk about getting something for nothing, tax the Bridge and Tunnel crowd that sleep in NJ or NC and use NYC's services all day. Or stop sending so much of the tax base out of the city.

              You literally want a Free Ride!

              You're not even an amusing troll.

               

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                out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:11am

                Re: Sigh

                Yes, everyone who rides *is* "trying to extract more out of taxpayers than [they're] paying for". It's *subsidized*. I don't see that as *bad* in itself.

                But they're raising rates on heavy users to avoid more taxes, I presume. That seems only fair to me.

                "You're not even an amusing troll." -- QUIT BITING, then. You're one of those just *compelled* to get the last word in, and also lack self-awareness.

                 

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          Red Monkey (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 8:26am

          Re: Re: Are you on crack?

          Can you provide case cites to relevant S. Ct. cases?

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:57am

      Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

      I use an unlimited metrocard for business in NYC. As assistant operations director, I have to travel all over the city to visit our stores. (on sunday I had 6 trips, and it should have been 8, but the local train wasn't running so I had to walk). Blaming visitors to the city (or out of city commuters, like Bloomberg did when he tried to make metronorth/lirr trains more expensive) misses the point. The MTA screwed up and now they're cutting service and raising prices everywhere to try to make up for their lousy budgeting.

      The type of commercial use you're thinking of is like trucking. Those types of uses require additional licenses (commercial plates, not allowed on certain roads, etc.). Human travel, even if for business purposes is not part of that. Otherwise a rental car full of businessmen going to a meeting would need a commercial license.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:12am

        Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

        No, the type of commercial use I'm thinking of is the case our host has raised, and yours, too. -- You make a narrow point with a rental vehicle. That's somewhat a matter of they didn't catch you. Any vehicle *owned* by a business, though, is licensed commercially.

        I'm just telling you "capitalists" to be consistent. You are using a public transportation system for commercial gain, which is *fine* with me, because simply not practical in the given case to *tax* you for what that service is worth to you.

        But when you demand "umlimited" costs be underwritten by the public for *your* gain, you're on weak ground all around.

         

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          Phillip Vector (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 6:12am

          Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

          I rarely reply to ACs (seeing as how usually, they are trolls), but I will fall into said trap this time and see what happens..

          Unlimited is Unlimited. Pure and simple. If it isn't unlimited, then they shouldn't call it that. Call it "90 trips a month pass" or "3 trips a day pass".

          BTW, the "If it isn't Unlimited, then they shouldn't call it that" is from my 7 year old. :)

           

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            out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 7:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

            I accidentally skipped the handle previously; avoiding A/Cs is my policy too. But I'm making an exception to multiple comments on one thread, too. -- Since our host provides unlimited commenting, why shouldn't I take advantage of it? Isn't that a *neat* illustration of the principle I'm arguing here?

            The topical answer is: it's not unlimited, pure and simple. Our host wishes that it were, and the *word* usage is objectionable to me too, but as a practical matter, MTA just can't actually provide unlimited travel to everyone who buys one of these cards, *but* I don't therefore consider it fraud. You can rail at MTA all you want, but it's *reasonable* for them to assume, and set, an upper limit.

            If you'll read all of my comments, it's a fairly cogent case on business grounds, and doesn't extend to the degree that has been implied by the rhetorical questions of those who *benefit* from the practical fact that MTA can give them a break on expenses over the individual rate -- or at least that's what I assume the advantage is to our host, and why he's complaining.

            So I'll say it again: you don't get unlimited travel even on your "unlimited" card, and if your travel is for *business*, you're saying that you want a subsidy from taxpayers. -- Of course that's always a difficult point to accept if you benefit from a subsidy, no matter how keen you are on that "private enterprise", "rugged individualist", "capitalism is boss" theme, when that's just not reality, and in fact, public works can be, and generally are, public good.

            I guess thanks for the honesty of where you got your line.

             

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              Phillip Vector (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 7:32am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

              "and the *word* usage is objectionable to me too"

              I'm not objecting to there being a limit. Only that if it's advertised as Unlimited, it shouldn't have a limit. It appears you agree with me and from how I read the article, Mike was saying the same thing. Nowhere do I see him saying that they HAVE to offer an unlimited pass, only that if it isn't unlimited, then don't say it is.

              Perhaps you should re-read what the article says again as the argument you bring up (which I won't get into due to my limited knowledge on the subject) is a bit off topic. The main thrust of the article (and please correct me if I'm wrong Mike) is the wordage that they use which we can agree is objectionable, not the service it offers.

               

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              Richard (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 7:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

              So I'll say it again: you don't get unlimited travel even on your "unlimited" card,


              Well then don't call it "unlimited" otherwise you lie.


              and if your travel is for *business*, you're saying that you want a subsidy from taxpayers. -- Of course that's always a difficult point to accept if you benefit from a subsidy, no matter how keen you are on that "private enterprise", "rugged individualist", "capitalism is boss" theme, when that's just not reality, and in fact, public works can be, and generally are, public good.


              All travel on the NY subway is subsidised by the taxpayer. The various special offers (unlimited travel cards etc etc) are no more subsidised than the regular ticket. They are just business schemes, designed to attract more customers, and so increase revenue overall - which should result in a reduction in public subsidy.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 8:08am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

                The MTA lied. Or hedged. Or was imprecise.

                But you're plain wrong that "(unlimited travel cards etc etc) are no more subsidised than the regular ticket"; obviously they *are* and increasingly so the more used.

                Has to be LIMITS on everyone or society doesn't work. If traveling for business purposes, it's a bit greedy of our host to complain about a bit more expense when in fact subsidized overall.

                 

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                  nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 9:33am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

                  it's a bit greedy of our host to complain about a bit more expense when in fact subsidized overall.

                  How are you still missing what it is he's complaining about? It is NOT the lack of an unlimited ticket.

                   

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                    out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 9:56am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

                    I'm not. Our host complains that "unlimited" is actually limited, and that he'll have to pay more for more. Strikes me as inconsistent for a business person, and a Free Ride.

                    You're the resident expert at demanding answers to irrelevant questions. Please in future comment on the article, not make insistent multiple questions. You add nothing thereby.

                     

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                      nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:34am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

                      Our host complains that "unlimited" is actually limited, and that he'll have to pay more for more.

                      Please indicate where Mike complained that he would have to pay more.

                       

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                        out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:06pm

                        @nasch: He doesn't "complain"! That's just *my* conclusion.

                        I think it reasonably implicit in: "As someone who spends a lot of time in NY, and frequently gets unlimited weekly cards, I know I use it more than 21 times in a week". -- Therefore, if he uses it more than 21 times in a week, he'll have to pay more. See how that process works? -- Or are you doing more of your schoolmarm schtick and insisting that every sentence hastily assembled for website comments be incapable of misinterpretation by the lowest intellect?

                         

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                          nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

                          Re: @nasch: He doesn't "complain"! That's just *my* conclusion.

                          The point of that statement is to indicate that 21 rides per week is not effectively unlimited. In other words, this is a very real and substantial limit on a service being billed as unlimited. If the MTA had said, for example, you're limited to 6000 rides per day (or some number nobody could possibly use), it would be stupid to complain that it's not really unlimited. This is a limit that can easily be reached by an ordinary person in the course of ordinary activites.

                          He used his own experience as a concrete example rather than just claiming that people will be able to reach the 21 ride limit without anything to back it up. He is not complaining about the money. If he were complaining about the money, I think there would be something in there about how it's going to cost him more, and he doesn't like that.

                          Mike, I don't know if you're paying attention to this, but perhaps blue would be more likely to believe you than me. Are you objecting to having to pay more when you visit NY? Or objecting to calling the service unlimited when it's not?

                          Or are you doing more of your schoolmarm schtick and insisting that every sentence hastily assembled for website comments be incapable of misinterpretation by the lowest intellect?

                          I'm kind of guessing about what you mean here. But if I read you right, I'm not saying that your comment could be misinterpreted by a stupid person. I'm saying it's incorrect.

                          Didn't you say something about calling names, and doesn't that mean I automatically win? Or is there a list of names that give "victory" to your "opponent", and schoolmarm isn't on it?

                           

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                            Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:47pm

                            Re: Re: @nasch: He doesn't "complain"! That's just *my* conclusion.

                            Mike, I don't know if you're paying attention to this, but perhaps blue would be more likely to believe you than me. Are you objecting to having to pay more when you visit NY? Or objecting to calling the service unlimited when it's not?

                            As I thought was clear (and seems clear to most people), I was only objecting to the fact that they call it unlimited if it is not unlimited.

                            They've raised prices many times in the past few years. I've never written a post complaining about that. They're free to set the prices as they wish, or not to even offer an unlimited ride option if they don't want to (if I'm just in town for a few days, I usually get one of the "10 rides" cards instead). I don't mind paying. I mind calling it unlimited when it's not only limited, but a very low limit.

                             

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                      Nastybutler77 (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:36am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

                      Strikes me as inconsistent for a business person, and a Free Ride.

                      Why do you think business people using public transportation is a "Free Ride?" Do you not realize that businesses pay taxes too?

                      Your cognative disconnect is astounding, as you keep making the same incorrect arguement over an over despite everyone telling you you're wrong. It should be clear by now, and since it's not you're either a simpleton or a troll. So which is it?

                       

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                        out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:29am

                        @ Nastybutler77: Just state where I'm wrong, then, and LEAVE it,

                        to stand on its own merits for the impartial reader.

                        Betcha can't do either. And in contrast to your attempt, I've set up a false alternative that you can't avoid.

                        You don't *have* an argument, only questions. And feeble appeals to the authority of "everyone".

                         

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                  Richard (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

                  But you're plain wrong that "(unlimited travel cards etc etc) are no more subsidised than the regular ticket"; obviously they *are* and increasingly so the more used.

                  It isn't obvious at all.

                  You seem to be wilfully ignorant of the way these systems actually work.

                  The MTA runs a fixed schedule that costs almost the same irrespective of how many people ride. The only variable cost is in fact the cost of ticketing - and that is actually marginally lower per ride for weekly/monthly tickets than for regular tickets.

                  In practice these operations then run a ticketing strategy designed to maximise revenue whilst providing consistent service for the public. The shortfall is made up by public subsidy. If the subsidy was removed the service would have to be cut - and guess what? The services that would be cut would not be the weekday, daytime services in the central region patronised by business users but the evening and weekend services to outlying areas used mainly by private travellers. The "business" services could easily survive without the subsidy - the "private" service could not.

                   

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:49am

      Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

      You're saying that you want the citizens of NY to underwrite unlimited *business* use of MTA.

      Wow. I said no such thing -- as pretty much everyone else here has already pointed out to you.

      I just said that if you advertise it as unlimited, it should be unlimited. That's it.

      I said nothing about how the MTA should be required to offer an unlimited pass or about the pricing of said pass.

      It may even be that such use is explicitly *prohibited*.

      Um. No. That's patently ridiculous. First of all, part of the reason *why* NY subsidizes the MTA and the subway system is because they know its widely used by people to get to work, and thus contributes *GREATLY* to the overall economic well being of New York.

      Saying that it's prohibited to use an unlimited pass to travel to meetings on the subway is flat out wrong and laughable.

      Everyone has pointed this out to you. That you stand by your blatantly incorrect position is weird.

       

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        out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:29pm

        A reasonable conclusion implicit in what you do say.

        "You're saying that you want the citizens of NY to underwrite unlimited *business* use of MTA."

        You want unlimited rides for a fixed price. Arguments against laid out elsewhere.

        Here's a point that I am going to be stubborn on because it's twisting implications such as you complain of:

        My quote: "It may even be that such use is explicitly *prohibited*."

        Your quote: "Saying that it's prohibited to use an unlimited pass to travel to meetings on the subway is flat out wrong and laughable."

        You will nowhere find me to state that. "May be" is a conjecture and while possibly laughable, can't be "flat out wrong".

        I think you're being confused by all the mis-statements of my position. So here it is: MTA *can't* (and shouldn't!) provide "unlimited" travel, regardless of what the ticket says. They should change that *wording*. But to expect unlimited travel is to expect that after some point, *someone* else pays for your rides. MTA *hopes* to make money by selling fares to heavy users at reduced rates, expecting that they won't be used, but that era seems to have ended. -- I assume that the previous deal was good for you, and I think it reasonable to conclude that a bit of self-interest clouds your judgment here.

        Clear enough? I expect you to retract "blatantly incorrect".

         

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          out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:38pm

          Re: A reasonable conclusion implicit in what you do say.

          I'd better re-hash the "business" vs citizen distinction too. -- While MTA not care, nor do I, as to why you're going or where, and that I only *infer* you're traveling for business, it does alter the set of legalisms involved, *if* you were planning on filing suit. -- The rest on this point is expansion, probably unwise, as applies to public roads on which were all tenants in common.

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 2:52pm

          Re: A reasonable conclusion implicit in what you do say.

          You want unlimited rides for a fixed price. Arguments against laid out elsewhere.


          No. I only want the MTA to offer what it says. That's it. If they removed unlimited rides altogether, I wouldn't complain.

          MTA *can't* (and shouldn't!) provide "unlimited" travel, regardless of what the ticket says.

          But that's wrong. They do and they can, if they choose to do so.

          But to expect unlimited travel is to expect that after some point, *someone* else pays for your rides.

          No one is "expecting" unlimited travel in all cases. We're only expecting it IF they offer such a ticket.

          Clear enough? I expect you to retract "blatantly incorrect".


          I will do no such thing. You were, and remain, blatantly incorrect.

           

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            out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:56pm

            Re: Re: A reasonable conclusion implicit in what you do say.

            "No one is "expecting" unlimited travel in all cases. We're only expecting it IF they offer such a ticket."

            I think that's the sticking point, then. -- MTA *doesn't* offer such a ticket. You were taken in, suckered, deceived, defrauded, and bamboozled. -- I'm correct on *that*.

             

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      btr1701 (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 8:42pm

      Re: But you're using MTA for *business* travel.

      > Big distinction in law for public roads being free to citizens,
      > but *not* for commercial uses, same applies here.

      What do you think the MTA is for? It's specifically designed for commuter use-- people who are riding it to work and back. It's not like millions of people get up every morning at the crack of dawn and pack themselves into hot, cramped trains and buses for the fun of it.

       

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    noesbueno (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 4:55am

    mta is an unholy money pit

    the mta is a financial disaster. and it is subsidized by the citizens of not just nyc, but the whole state. exhorbitant bridge and tunnel tolls, dept of motor vehicle "fees", as well as payroll taxes specifically for the mta, from people who have never used the subway in their life, and probably never will.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:04am

      Re: mta is an unholy money pit

      and upstate gets more than their fair share in taxes in other ways. stop complaining unless you want to redistrict the state to better reflect the actual populations, and while you're at it stop counting NYC residents in prison as residents of the upstate districts their prisons are located in.

       

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      Michael, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:21am

      Re: mta is an unholy money pit

      All public transportation is a money pit. You complain about your tax money going toward the MTA, but what about the taxes paid by people living in the city that goes to the state highways? Lots of people do not own a car but are paying for you to have a road.

      Over time, infrastructure that is funded by tax dollars becomes a way for the government to create jobs for it's citizens. The systems bloat and overspend and eventually collapse. Empires throughout history have done this. Eventually, it will be privatized - then it will eventually fail - then the government will take it back and rebuild it.

      Look at the electric transit systems in California. Oh, sorry, GM took them over and ran them into the ground - then replaced them with buses (great plan there, by the way) - and now the Governator is trying to take transit back and use it to build jobs. The MTA is a REALLY large scale version of this - and will probably cause a lot of economic hardship, but it is not abnormal and tends to be an economic necessity.

       

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    Danny, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    Confused?

    "We've seen how broadband providers and mobile carriers have regularly been confused by the term unlimited,..."

    Yeah right. Confused is if I tell you to make a left at the light when it was actually a right because I sincerly thought it was left. If I tell you to make a left knowing full well it was right that's not confusion. That's deception.

     

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    abc gum, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:43am

    They could use the ISP BS. Time of day the ticket can be used is unlimited.

     

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    Adam, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 6:50am

    But you're using the MTA for business travel.

    Are you saying that the MTA should levy a special tax on folks who use the subway system for business or that out-of-towners like Mike should pay more?

     

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      out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 8:25am

      Re: But you're using the MTA for business travel.

      No, amazingly, my point is as I've written. Nothing at all from me about a special tax or out of town, that's completely your invention.

      I take exception on the narrow ground that our host's travel is for business purposes and that while "unlimited" is maybe a lie, for a *business* person to demand that "unlimited" be taken literally -- when it's in his favor -- is simply not consistent with *any* business practice.

      Also, the MTA is a subsidized public utility, and if he's been getting a good deal previously, well, times are different, the MTA just can't afford to *lose* money on his amount of use of the system. There are real costs to meet, indistinguishable incrementally for *one* person, but simply insupportable overall. At some point, MTA *has* to charge heavy users a bit more, and he doesn't want to shell out, really wants an "all you can eat buffet" at taxpayer expense. He can buy a monthly card and a weekly and get by, perhaps.

       

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        nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:48am

        Re: Re: But you're using the MTA for business travel.

        for a *business* person to demand that "unlimited" be taken literally -- when it's in his favor -- is simply not consistent with *any* business practice.

        If we don't demand that the government doesn't lie to us, what reason do they have to stop lying to us? Are you saying it's OK for the MTA to mislead the public about its services? If not, why do you object to Mike pointing out the deception?

         

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          out_of_the_blue, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 11:40am

          @ nasch: Don't you ever run out of questions? #2

          "If we don't demand that the government doesn't lie to us, what reason do they have to stop lying to us?"

          Good heavens. You're one of those who believes that the gov't *ever* tells the truth.

          "Are you saying it's OK for the MTA to mislead the public about its services?"

          No, I'm saying that our host is a bit short-sighted on what he's asking.

          "If not, why do you object to Mike pointing out the deception?"

          I haven't. I've agreed with his point. MTA should remove the *word* but not change that those who *use* more *pay* more.

          Now, I've *answered* three questions. If all I get from you is *more* questions, I'll feel free to be *rude*.

           

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            nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 12:51pm

            Re: @ nasch: Don't you ever run out of questions? #2

            No, I'm saying that our host is a bit short-sighted on what he's asking.

            I don't see how it's shortsighted. To me, the core of the message is at the end: "The MTA might want to be careful, of course. Companies have been fined for falsely stating unlimited when things are not actually unlimited." Maybe you're focusing on something else, but that doesn't seem short sighted to me.

            I haven't. I've agreed with his point. MTA should remove the *word* but not change that those who *use* more *pay* more.

            Good, then we agree about that, or at least don't disagree. I think they should remove the word, and I have no opinion on their pricing model. My first thought would be to offer a 21/week and 90/month pass, and then raise the price of the unlimited passes. Unlimited is convenient, and if it's priced right it can be a good deal for everyone. But I don't really know that much about the MTA.

            Now, I've *answered* three questions. If all I get from you is *more* questions, I'll feel free to be *rude*.

            Um... what's your favorite flavor of ice cream?

             

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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:00am

    It's the re-introduction wireless carrier meaning of unlimited!

    In the wireless communications world the term unlimited was meant to mean that you had unlimited "access" to the network - as in you could use whenever you wanted but NOT that you could use it as MUCH as you wanted.

    It's blatantly misleading to use the word unlimited in this case as well. Regardless of why you use the system which, unless you are doing something illegal, is none of anyone's effing business in the first place, even if I do claim it as a business expense.

    If I paid for an unlimited pass then I should be able to use it WITHOUT LIMITS! If this costs the company money then maybe they should reconsider offering this type of pass. However, I suspect they do a fairly decent amount of business with these passes and it may turn out that NOT offering the passes would cost them even more revenue than the few extra trips some small portion of the riders might use.

    If you advertise something as "unlimited" then it is logically incorrect to place a limit of any type on this item. Pick a new name for the pass: 7/21 weekly pass with 21 ride limit; 3/30 or the "33" Pass - will allow you 3 rides a day for thirty days; or the 90 Pass - 90 rides no time restraint. Once your 90 rides have occurred you need to re-up your pass.

    Take your pick on what you want to call it but don't call it unlimited especially if you have no intention of honoring it.

     

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    Technopolitical (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:18am

    New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is going down the same road. To deal with its budget crunch the MTA is planning to say that its unlimited ride cards are actually quite limited.

    ME : This is just a proposal. MTA does this all the time ,, a few months ago they proposed doing away with Student Free fare cards ,, but the uproar killed it.

    The MTA pulls these little political tricks all the time. It is actually pretty savvy on their part-- they threaten something they really do not want to do , to horse trade it off elsewhere

    { full disclosure , I was on staff @ "NYPIRG / Straphangers Campaign" for six years [83-86 & 92-95] , I am still somewhat involved as a volunteer. http://straphangers.org/)


    more:
    http://www.nydailynews.com/ny_local/2010/07/13/2010-07-13_mta_ plan_for_limited_unlimited_metrocard.html

     

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      nasch (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 10:49am

      Re: New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is going down the same road. To deal with its budget crunch the MTA is planning to say that its unlimited ride cards are actually quite limited.

      Straphangers... somehow that sounds NSFW, though I'm sure it's subway related.

       

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        Technopolitical (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

        Straphangers.. Re: Re: New York Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) is going down the same road. To deal with its budget crunch the MTA is planning to say that its unlimited ride cards are actually quite limited.

        NYC subway cars used to have leather straps for people w/o seats to hold on to-- thus riders where and still are called STRAP-hangers in NYC lexicon. today we have metal bars not leather straps ,, but the lexicon is still used.

        Welcome to NYC
        ------------
        And , again it is just a toothless MTA proposal to limit the un-limited -- very unlikely to happen. The MTA wants an uproar , so they can look nice when they do not do it.

        But they are cutting back service here in NYC -- esp on late nite transit -- which as a musician who works late into the night is a pain for me

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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    Red Monkey (profile), Jul 15th, 2010 @ 5:19pm

    on the alleged subsidy for unlimited travel

    Actually, blue, it is not the monthly travel that is unlimited, it is the number of times you can enter and exit the subway in one month. Since travel itself takes time, the amount you can travel per month cannot be infinite.

    It's not altogether clear that New Yorkers are necessarily subsidizing your travel at some point. I think it would depend on the mean cost per subway stop, the number of stops you traverse, and the cost of your ticket. If you use up your 90 rides by going only one or two stops, you may actually be subsidizing riders who buy one ticket and spend all day on the subway.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 15th, 2010 @ 6:18pm

    Heh - someone is digging a hole, and will not stop

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    icon
    Truebuzz (profile), Jul 16th, 2010 @ 4:24am

    I called New York MTA

    I called the contact number for the New York Metro Transit Authority metro card. The girl who answered said that they are not limiting rides on the unlimited card. She said the story is not true. I hope she's right. This is the telephone line that commuters use to ask questions specifically about the MetroCard. I used the number listed on their official website: 1 212 638 7622

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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