Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hack Hybrid Help On The Way

There’s an October 25th deadline for taxicab owners to purchase vehicles that get a minimum 25mpg. Unfortunately, there’s a shortage of hybrids. What’s a city’s taxicab industry to do? Enter GM, Ford and Nissan. They've pledged to supply a total of 300 vehicles monthly to aid owners meet the new green goals. Mayor Bloomberg said, “[They] have gone above and beyond.” Of course if automakers had been promoting hybrid vehicles years ago as they could have, we’d all be better off today.

One Man’s Garbage Is Another’s Gold

52 New York City Department of Sanitation workers were suspended for stealing scrap metal from work sites rather than turning it in for processing and sale for the city’s benefit. 2 others were cited for using department vehicles for transport. From now on guys, use a metal detector like other treasure hunters and search on your own time!

MTA Puts “Perv” Posters On Hold

A transit poster campaign to reduce deviant behavior against women in New York’s subways has been shelved. Fear that the words might encourage the acts is the reason. In other cities, signs are up including “Flash someone and you’ll be exposed.” and “Rub against me and I’ll expose you.” Rather than creative, eye-catching ads to deliver the message, maybe we’d be better served by more undercover cops, arrests, prosecutions and harsher sentences.

Sanitation Giving Us Garbage

The Department of Sanitation should clean up its magic act. Making garbage disappear where it never existed is fraud, not efficiency. Comptroller Bill Thompson claims that 31 of 76 lots were spotless when investigated by auditors, yet Sanitation reported they removed 2-16 tons of debris … and the city paid the disposal fees. Sanitation claims that crews sometimes clean “adjoining lots and areas.” It explained the discrepancy as a reporting method which might need adjustment. The Department of Investigation gets to examine this mess next.

Skies To Lighten Over JFK

Recent near-misses at JFK airport have prompted the FAA to examine the airport’s existing operating procedures. Preliminary reports suggest the two recent close calls were caused by communication problems. In a separate announcement, the FAA plans to install new lighting systems in several airports including JFK and LaGuardia. Check the radios too, guys!

Pedicabs Pedal With Virtual Impunity

The City Council passed rickshaw regulations over a year ago yet they’re not being enforced. Ongoing discussions between the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs and a pedicab trade group are holding things up. The main debate is the city’s limit of licenses to 325. In the meantime, many pedicabs are doing business without proper driver identification, insurance, seat belts, headlights, tail lights or even set fare structures. Passengers, pedestrians and automobile drivers are all at risk. Accidents have already occurred and people have been injured. Mayor Bloomberg, who wants to green the city, needs to act before there’s more red blood in the streets.