By Paige Golembeski
Environmental Project Leader, NYPIRG
Over the past decade, the reliability of public transportation in New York City has drastically declined. Currently, only about 65 percent of subway trains reach their destination on time. This has resulted in an increase in the use of taxis, for-hire cars and ride-share companies, thus increasing congestion in New York City streets and increasing greenhouse gas emissions exponentially.
Recently, the state of New York has been considering initiating Congestion Pricing. This would create a toll for drivers traveling in the busiest parts of the city during peak congestion times. The tolls would then go toward improving public transportation infrastructure in the city. Ideally, Congestion Pricing would deter people from driving in the city, making it easier for buses to travel, thus further improving public transportation.
When reliable, public transportation can drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gases of a city. More people are travelling via the same mode of transportation, thus reducing the number of private vehicles on the road. Less cars on the road means less carbon emissions. The Congestion Pricing will encourage people to move toward public transport, as well as give the city a way to receive money to improve the public transportation infrastructure. Climate scientists have said that this is the do or die moment to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and combat climate change. Congestion Pricing will help decrease New York City’s carbon footprint and help move New York to a greener and more energy conscious state.