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Tuesday, April 08, 2008


It's the Marketing, People

Mayor Bloomberg's Congestion Pricing plan, which would have raised needed funds for mass transit at the same time it discouraged people from driving into the city, was killed yesterday when the state legislature failed to even bring it up for a vote before a midnight deadline.

I'm wondering if this plan--which I was utterly in favor of, as anything that gets more cars off the streets is okay by me--failed because people don't like the title "Congestion Pricing" which sounds sort of like an extra tax on Robutussin.

I was thinking that maybe it would have done better if they'd come up with a more appealing name. Something with ZAZZ!

Maybe you try to make people think they're joining an elite class by calling it something like Executive Class Automotive Entrance.

Maybe you get a celebrity to front the product. You could call it The Bernadette Peters Ticket to Broadway!

Maybe you appeal to a more international clientèle with a translated-Japanese-sounding name like Super Awesome Hot Pricing.

Maybe you go with a Bush Administration-style ironically named program (along the lines of "Blue Skies" or "Healthy Forest Initiative") such as Really Affordable Pricing.

Or, you could almost dare people to complain with a name like Pricing for Big Fucking Cry-Babies Who Can't Leave Their Goddamn Car at Home. That might get some asses on mass transit seats.

Whatever the reason this idea died a slow, ignoble death, I wish they could have made it work. It might have allowed cross-town buses to get from Madison to Park in less than three hours.

The only argument against it that I found to be somewhat valid is that communities in Northern Manhattan will be adversely affected because people will simply park their cars in those areas - such as Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood - places that already deal with pollution problems due to buses and trucks being parked there. But hey, dig the name suggestions.
Actually, Megan, included in the proposal was the added bonus that uptown streets (like the one on which I live) would have been rezoned a bit and the people who live there would be given Zone Permits. Which would have helped keep spaces free on my block and might have made it possible for me to not circle the block for twelve fucking hours looking for a spot on the "Friday" side of the street. I'm so bitter.
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