The proposal by Brooklyn State Senator Martin Golden and Bronx Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz to offer two free transfers for those who have to ride two buses before boarding a subway is wishful thinking.
People who moved to neighborhoods with no subway in walking distance knew full well that they would be living in a two-fare (bus to subway) and sometimes three-fare (bus to bus to subway) zone with longer commutes to and from work.
MTA services continue to be one of the best bargains in town. Since the 1950s, the average cost of riding either the bus, subway or commuter rail has gone up at a lower rate than either the consumer price index or inflation.
The Metrocard introduced in 1996 affords a free transfer between bus and subway. Prior to that, riders had to pay two full fares.
For years, local politicians would stir the pot on this issue. Now, the latest cause is for those handful of people out of several million daily riders who have to pay two fares versus one.
An overwhelming majority can afford, and already purchase, either a weekly or monthly unlimited Metrocard which makes the "double fare" issue moot.
Residents, taxpayers and commuters represented by Golden and Dinowitz would be better off if he would worry more about how the state legislature will find the $5.8 billion balance Governor Andrew Cuomo still owes to bridge the $8.3 billion shortfall in the MTA's Five-Year Capital Plan.
In the end, it all comes down to the availability of increased funding for additional transportation service to serve residents of two-fare zones in the outer boroughs.
Operating subsidies are required to increase the level of service and reduce the amount of time one waits for a bus on existing routes.