Discussion relating to the past and present operations of the NYC Subway, PATH, and Staten Island Railway (SIRT).

Moderator: GirlOnTheTrain

  by Otto Vondrak
In these tight economic times, with transportation costs rising, how far will people go to save a few dollars on their commute? For the last 11 years, on Staten Island, the answer appears to be about half a mile — the distance some riders of the local commuter train walk every day to avoid the system’s $2 fare.

By this time next year, we’ll know if they are willing to trek six-tenths of a mile on top of that.

Within a few years, it may become even harder for riders on the Staten Island Railway to get a free ride.

The situation, reported in The Times in 2004, is this: For reasons that are somewhat complex, the only station on the railway where fares are collected — for people getting both on and off trains — is St. George, at the ferry terminal at the island’s northern tip.
http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/ ... -loophole/

So was the ride always free? Did they ever collect fares onboard the trains in the pre-MTA days? Did they ever have "fare control" at any of the outlying stations?

  by Kamen Rider
they talk about it further down in the article. it was a normal communter rail style fare collection with tickets and roving conductors.
  by arrow
It's true, there used to be conductors that came around to collect fares, similar to Metro North, LIRR, and NJT.
  by bellstbarn
Please allow for the inaccuracies of memory. In the 1940's and early 1950's, Dad occasionally brought me to Staten Island to ride the B & O subsidiary. We traveled all three routes, and did enjoy one railfan trip from St. George to, I believe, Cranford. My recollection is of buying tickets at the ticket booth at St. George. Otherwise, particularly St. George - bound, one got a duplex from a conductor, who often opened only one door. In the 1960's, I think there were three zones to Tottenville, the highest fare being 35 cents. Even after the MTA took over and the R-44's were in use, I recall conductors collecting a flat fare (whatever the token rate was) and issuing a receipt.
It is my complaint that the elimination of intermediate fares was a Giuliani-Pataki scheme to increase the Republican vote. While Dinkins was mayor 1990-1993 an anti-city attitude developed, almost to the point of secession. By the time Giuliani and Pataki came around, the reward for voting for more Republican candidates was several-fold: an extra free transfer on the buses; a free ferry ride; reduced tolls on the Verrazano Bridge for Staten Island residents (denied the other city residents); a huge investment in express buses to Manhattan; and incidentally the abolishment of fares for intermediate stations on the Staten Island Railway. Note that all these discounts were given out of the MTA pocket (easy for Pataki), not out of the city budget. The Metrocard free transfer Pataki pushed through benefited especially people in two-fare zones around the city, where previously they had to pay a bus fare to reach the subway. The expense of installing Metrocard turnstiles and machinery throughout the subway system was enormous, but adding twenty more stations on Staten Island may have seemed a bad investment. Better invest in votes.
Last edited by bellstbarn on Wed Oct 29, 2008 7:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by R36 Combine Coach
The Staten Island Railway changed its fare program on July 4, 1997 to having fares paid only at St. George. This was the same day the Ferry became free.
  by bellstbarn
The title of this thread requires clarification. Fare controls are being added only at Tompkinsville. The twenty stations from Stapleton to Tottenville will still lack fare controls, allowing free rides within that section. Boarding or leaving at St. George requires payment of Metrocard fare. Coming soon (date?), boarding and perhaps leaving at Tompkinsville will require the fare.
Bellstbarn: You are right about the Republican transit giveaway by Pataki and Giuliani concerning Staten Island-You covered the subject well in your post.
I wonder why SIRT did not place turnstiles at Tompkinsville sooner noting the fare dodging going on there.
I wonder now if Stapleton would be the logical next place for thrifty riders to exit SIRT-or is it too far from St. George to make it worth while?
  by pennsy
Staten Island, Richmond County, was always famous for its tolls, and the fights to become part of New Jersey and not New York. They always had great model RR hobby shops and those shops used to have loss leaders so that the NYC and Long Island fellas would come and make some purchases. Interestingly enough, they would charge you a toll when you left Staten Island to return to "the city", but to go over the bridge into Staten Island was free. Ie, one way toll only. Happily I was able to screw them out of a toll. I left beautiful downtown Long Island in 1977, went through Staten Island for free, and kept on going to Sunny Southern California, never to return.
  by bellstbarn
Alan J.,
A fable told when I lived on the Island in the 1960's: Sometime in colonial history, there was an argument between New Jersey and New York over which colony really had jurisdiction over Staten Island. They decided to settle it by having a boat race around the Island, one team representing the New York, the other representing New Jersey. The deal made before the race: the loser would get the Island.
(Obviously, the narrator of that legend was not a native Islander, even though he read the Advance page-by-page.)
As in outer Queens County, one major complaint then was the condition of City maintenance of some streets: asphalt over mud, without a foundation. Potholes galore.
  by R36 Combine Coach
That is a classic legend in New York folklore, but has never been proven.

Either way, Staten Island's transit connections to New Jersey are limited, with only the S89 bus to the Hudson Bergen Light Rail at Bayonne. Proposal include using the SIR North Shore ROW to connect with the HBLR.
  by XBNSFer
pete1606 wrote: Tue Oct 28, 2008 5:44 pm Why should their commute be free! Mine is not! let them pay.
Their "commute," if being done via the SIR, is to the city via the ferry, hence they WILL have to pay, since they can't get out at St. George (or Tomkinsville) without paying. Not too many "commutes" end at SIR stations which are mostly in bedroom communities.
  by XBNSFer
To give this further context, the vast majority of SIRT, later SIR, fares were for commuters riding to St. George to get to Manhattan. The amount of revenue lost for other riders was probably less than the cost of paying conductors to collect the fares, printing paper tickets, etc., so this was no big loss for the MTA.

As for Metrocard and free transfers, this was just correction of the inequity of Staten Island commuters paying three fares for what commuters from other parts of the city, who had subway access, paid one fare to do. And the Metrocard installation was a big push system-wide for the MTA, because this eliminated the cost of minting tokens and changing turnstiles in order to circumvent "token hoarding" that took place every time a fare increase was announced, and to make it easier to implement fare increases (just suck more money from your Metrocard).