New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed constituents’ concerns about public transit during the coronavirus pandemic on Thursday — by telling them not to buy a car.
Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, many New Yorkers are concerned about the dangers of being wedged into a vehicle in close proximity with strangers. Mayor Bill de Blasio was seemingly dismissive of the idea, focusing his rhetoric on the city’s control of the pandemic and rejection of “the past.”
“My advice to New Yorkers is: ‘Do not buy a car,’” de Blasio said. “Cars are the past. The future is going to be mass transit.”
The mayor further asserted he would “never own a car again.” He did, however, concede that not everyone shares his confidence.
“People are concerned about their health and safety, I totally understand that,” he said, but pointed to a recent uptick in subway usage in defense of his argument. He also recalled his administration’s previous efforts in expanding Citi Bikes and lanes for bicyclers, ferries, and the introduction of “congestion pricing” on toll roads that travel into Manhattan.
De Blasio insisted New York City boasts “one of the great mass transit systems in the world” when questioned why it still lacks the infrastructure of similar cities like London or Paris but failed to give a concrete answer to the challenge. Even so, he did suggest that the city would continue to see improvements.
“There’s a lot to come,” de Blasio promised, “but my focus is on the steps we need to take now to restart [the economy]” as the city recovers from its viral nightmare. It is important to note that the subway systems account for roughly 40% of the Big Apple’s revenue. If people do not regain confidence in public transportation, the mayor’s future briefings may become a little more desperate.