NYC kills the 1 day MTA Fun Pass

If you live in New York City, people visit you. It’s not you, it’s the city, but hey, I’ll take it. Inevitably the question of the subway arises: How do I get from where you live to where I want to go? In the past, the answer was simple. Just buy the $4 one day funpass, and well, don’t worry about it. Just hop on the subway, and go! NYC is a daunting enough place for tourists, the funpass, introduced in 1999, helped make NYC a little bit friendlier and easier to navigate. I’ve personally walked a few random tourists through buying one.

 

Now it’s gone.

 

It’s a real shame, and I think it’s a bad move on the MTA’s part. I understand why they did it: the $4 fun pass would have been $20 cheaper for your average commuter than the increasingly dear monthly pass. ( Which at $104 a month makes a vespa seem very attractive)

Unlimited transportation within the City is, I believe, a tremendously freeing thing. The monthly pass means that I can stop off anywhere, at any time, en route to work or coming home without racking up another $2.50 in fees. It means I can peruse shops at leisure, pickup something from the farmers market, or go out to eat without worrying how much it’s going to cost me just to get there and get home. The same is true for tourists: unlimited subway passes turn the city into their playground. How many tourists now are going to hop off the subway in soho on their way to Times Square when it will cost them an extra $2.50?

I’d wager that the loss of the funpass, while probably earning the MTA a little bit of money in the short run, will be a huge net loss for the City as a whole. Especially for small businesses in areas that don’t traditionally get alot of tourist traffic, the tax on wanderlust will hurt. Less tangible, though perhaps even more damaging, is the effect on the world’s image of NYC. The magic of travel is the road less travelled, the serendipitous cafe, the joy of discovery. The fun pass gave tourists the excuse to indulge in an adventure. It’s loss means that the City is a less magical place. It’s glitter will fade, and that for more and more visitors, Bubba Gump’s in Times Square, The Empire State Building, and Ground Zero will be their New York.

Whatever benefit the MTA gets from killing the funpass, it’s not worth it.

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