NYC Transit on STRIKE!

[editor's note, by Yankee] Although this post is obviously NYC-centric, I think it makes a good starting point for a TOD discussion. Peakguy raises a good point when he asks why it takes a strike for the mayor to start encouraging cycling, walking, and carpooling as good ways to get to work. Also see peakguy's update.

For the first time in 25 years New York City is largely shutdown today as the Transport Workers Union local 100 rejected a final offer from the MTA and went on strike. I could tell that the strike was on early this morning because of all the honking horns out my window (traffic will be a nightmare today). As I have mentioned before, a lot of wealth rides on NYC rails and buses. Which is why the Taylor law was enacted, making any strike illegal, resulting in fines that increase exponentially everyday.

This could be a watershed in how New York City views it's all its transit systems, including biking, walking, carpooling and even skating to work. The 1980 strike is largely given credit for making people more comfortable wearing sneakers to work and then changing into their dress shoes at the office.

Roger Toussaint, leader of TWU local 100 issued the following statement, ending with a direct plea to riders:

To our riders, we ask for your understanding forbearance. We stood with you to keep token booths open, to keep conductors on the train and oppose fare hikes. We now ask that you stand with us. We did not want a strike. Evidently the MTA, governor and the Mayor did.

We call on all good will New Yorkers, the Labor Community, and all working people to recognize that our fight is their fight, and to rally in our support with solidarity activities and events. And to show the MTA that TWU does not stand alone.

They have also set up a blog.

Bloomberg fired back with this statement:

Tonight, Roger Toussaint and the TWU have taken the illegal and morally reprehensible action of ordering a citywide strike of our mass transit system. For their own selfish reasons, the TWU has decided that their demands are more important than the law, the City and the people they serve. This is not only an affront to the concept of public service; it is a cowardly attempt by Roger Toussaint and the TWU to bring the City to its knees to create leverage for their own bargaining position. We cannot give the TWU the satisfaction of causing the havoc they desperately seek to create.

also ending with a similar plea to riders:

Rush hour will begin in few hours. I will join fellow New Yorkers going to work by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge to lower Manhattan. Let's show our determination by walking, cycling or carpooling, to get to work and school. We will show that New York City works even when our buses and subways don't. I have no doubt that, by working together, we can and will get through this.

Both have taken extreme positions in my opinion, but I think they will come to agreement soon. My question is, why did we wait for a strike to start talking about walking, cycling, carpooling as primary ways for people to get to work.

As people walk around the city, they will find pedestrian paths squeezed into narrow areas that in places only allow a single file in each direction.

As people ride their bikes they will find that biking in NYC is dangerous with cars cutting them off, dooring them and double parked in bike lanes, where there are bike lanes.

And even with the carpool restrictions in place, many people will realize that even with those requirements, everyone can't just get in their cars in New York City.

This should be a wake-up call to all local officials to build more Alternatives for local residents to get around other than overcrowded subways and cars.

I would say that "largely shutdown" is an exaggeration. My office downtown was running normally. A lot of people were late, and everyone had a story about their hellish commute, but they were there to talk about 'em.
I would agree that the city does seem more up and around than I had originally expected, so I apologize for my hasty 6am analysis. Most people are in my office, more so than a normal Friday...
If the transit workers are so valuable to the economy then why shouldn't they get a fair share of it. For 25 years transit worker purchasing power has shrunk while per capita economic growth has at least doubled.
I agree that they should get a fair share of the wealth that the economy creates. However, most of the work requires little skills and thus a lot of people can do it.
This is a good example of why "price" for anything, be it oil or a TWU workman (workperson) is an arbitrary noise that we human critters make.
We squawk about what is "fair" (whatever that means)
We squawk about "the markets" doing their thing.

If put to a test, most of us squawkers (me included) have no idea what the "fair" noise really represents or what the "markets" noise really represents. We just make noises.

Meanwhile, the sustainability of our "wealth" based society continues to spiral down to demise. How do we more fairly pay for TWU labor when everyone else's labor job gets offshored?, when all the factories get offshored? when all our brain power jobs get offshored? Why does Wall Street have to remain in NYC? Can't it be moved to a cheaper offshore location?

The people that are coming from outside the city and mid-town to lower Manhattan have the easiest trips of those at my office today.  These are generally where the wealthier people live.  It's those that live in the Bronx and Queens and Brooklyn, those that are in the same socio-economic group as the TWU members that are really having the trouble today.  Isn't that the way these things always seem to go.

I just hope that the city decides to institute this 4 person/car policy or some version of it for use throughout the year.  At least during certain seasons you have to have two or three people in  a car to get into Manhattan.
I can't tell you how many people I see every day driving through the Lincoln Tunnel in a large SUV or minivan all alone.

Amen to that!
I think the HOV restrictions could be the lasting legacy of the strike as Manhattanites learn how wonderful the city is when people can't easily drive-in from suburbia and take up valuable public space.

Many people commented to me today how easy it was to hail a cab within the restricted zone.

I used to live in Astoria, Queens and I would have had a much worse commute if I still did. It is the poor communities that are worst served by local mass transit when it is running and those that have the fewest options without mass transit. Transportation creates wealth and it's not surprising that wealth lives near good transportation, good parks, good schools...etc
More on what I call, the Value of Mass Transit, from this NY Times article:

The strike also threatened the economy of the city, which depends on the holiday spending of shopping, eating, theater-going tourists to fatten its coffers. The Partnership for New York, a business consortium, estimated that 20 percent of the city's workforce in its major corporations did not show up for work today, although many may have been telecommuting.

Retail stores and restaurants yesterday were empty of shoppers, diners and in many cases, employees. At the flagship Lord & Taylor department store in midtown, executives were dragooned into service selling leather gloves and sweaters, at times not quite knowing what they were doing.

A Starbucks on Water Street was locked at 9:15,. and a stack of newspapers lay outside the door, despite the fact that a sign in the window said that the store opened at 6.

"If it goes the full week," said Burt P. Flickinger III, a retail industry analyst, referring to the strike, "sales could be off 50 percent or more this week," which would translate to the loss of 5 to 10 percent of the entire year's profits. "In terms of lost operating income for New York-based retailers, it could be a quarter to half a billion dollars if they lose the entire week."

So, regardless of which side you think is right, can we all agree that mass transit is a very valuable asset that should have the best management, the best well trained workers, the best maintenance and best investments in technology? And that businesses benefit tremendously from a well functioning transportation system?

It might of interest to note that the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto missed a flight out and today bemoaned his lack of a car.

"'If you live in "the rest of the country,' count yourself lucky, for you almost certainly have a car. Spiking gas prices may be an annoyance, but at least you know you can always get where you want to go."

What price freedom from being held hostage by a self-inerested group like a municipal union?

Thanks for the note Whitehall. I think many people in NYC would argue that infrequent (once in 25 years?) inconveniences like a strike are worth living in a great city.

Missed a flight out and bemoaned his lack of a car

I highly doubt Mr. Taranto takes mass transit out to the area's airports. What he's really complaining about it traffic congestion, which NYC does not do a good job of regulating during non-strike times.

at least you know you can always get where you want to go

Ask folks out in any other major urban area if they have ever missed an appointment because of traffic and I'm sure they will answer "yes".

But you are right that people should have good transportation alternatives and not be completely dependent on one system for all functions. Not just for strikes, but for blackouts, terrorist attacks, etc. That's why we need better cycling infrastructure, more carpooling, congestion pricing, and other ways of getting people from from point A and B.

Or even non-urban areas.  I live in a suburban/small town area, and people miss their flights here, too.  Usually  due to construction-generated traffic jams or unexpected heavy snow.  
Sorry, but that was not Taranto's meaning as I understood it - I did not transcribe it adequately.

He does normally take mass transit and does NOT have a car (as I understand).  The strike prevented him from getting to the airport and he wishes he had a car - at least at that moment!

If I lived in Manhattan, Queens, or within San Francisco, I would think about not owning a car either.  But most Americans do not live in such crowded places and a personal automobile remains a vital and prized possession with great economic benefit to the owners and to the economy as a whole.

Taranto should have said "If you live in 'the rest of the country,' and are not too old, too young, too poor, or too disabled to drive, count yourself lucky." Suburbia will always have a non-driving underclass.
With due respect, I do not think that more people walking or even cycling is the solution to peak oil. Walking or cycling is simply another form of transportation which consumes energy. This one consumes the most costly form of energy: the energy of the biomass in your physical body.

That's the most wasteful form of utilizing fossil energy: By walking an extra 10 miles per day, your body consume so much more energy that you need to eat more food to balance it. You probably end up eating 3 extra hambergers a day. And producing of food consumes 10 times fossil fuel of the weight of the food produced. You are better off driving an efficient hybrid vehicle and save some body energy so you can eat less and make less number of trips to grocery stores. Of course the better bets would be mass transportation systems and car pools.

The lesson is automatic machineries are still a more efficient way of utilizing energy than any form of biomass. The problem with current automobile based transportation is they are moving way too much more mass than is necessary in order to transport the weight of a few human bodies. More efficient ways must be invented, like ultra-light vehicles. Electric bicycles or skooters may be the best choice if they can be made safe and convenient. In any case, an electric driven bicycle beats out a manually ridden one every time.

No, the problem is people are living too far from where they work.  If they have to walk or bike, they will move closer.  Even if it's in a "bad neighborhood."
Implicit in your point is an extremely bad assumption: that people in the U.S. are in need of conserving biomass.

Additionally you argue from a perspective of what is possible for mechanical transport (hybrid vehicle carpools, electric bicycles) while ignoring the typical (SUV or van) but you take a typical case for food (burger, 10x chemical energy in petroleum input) while ignoring the possible (vegetarian, sustainably farmed meal).

And even if the person ate burgers to regain calories lost, if we compared (human-powered) bicycle to 4-person SUV carpool, I'd bet on the person biking to use the least energy.

I mean use the least energy per person, of course.
With regards to the efficiency of bicycles, if my memory serves me correctly, they are one of if not THE most efficient way of getting from point A to point B, in terms of TOTAL energy expended and work created.* If you eat organically grown food, you have close to ZERO total use of fossil energy to move you.[We can make bicycles out of anything]Furthermore, so much unneeded energy is spent on exercise equipment (think Nordic Track) when you could get your daily requirement of exercise by biking to work instead of driving to GloboGym.

As for dramatic changes in diet(3 extra cheeseburgers or equivalent) the average American diet is NOT tailored to the sedentary lifestyle(Niether is the human body)!

*(Sorry about the lack of citation on such a info-dense website, but I needed to put this forth. Hopefully data will be forthcoming. First post on a site I've been following for sometime. Such a great forum!)

People should do a certain amount of physical activity and leaner people require less base calories load than obese people. The extra calories used in biking or walking can be carbohydrates which are much less energy intense than animal protein.

The trick is putting this all in a standard format: How many calories to propel a person 1 mile. I think walking is 100 calories/mile, while biking is 35-50 calories/mile, thus much more efficient. Not sure what a Hummer is...

Here's where the metric system helps. Let's assume the Hummer develops average power of 200 kilowatts accelerating and overcoming rolling resistance for 1 minute or 60 seconds. That's 12 megajoules of energy. Multiply by 4,187 (messy) to get calories and we have about 50,000.
Quantoken, moving a pedestrian or a cyclist does take energy, it's true. Of course it's not energy-free. But the energy required to move a 150-lb. person is a tiny fraction of that required to move a 4,000-lb. car over the same distance. Plus, people who walk or cycle are practically by definition living closer to where they have to work, so they're traveling less distance. Far less distance. Far less weight. Far less energy consumed.

On top of that, people who live close to work tend to live in dense areas where apartments are more common than detached single family houses. Apartments are smaller and thus a lot less costly to heat. And they have fewer surfaces exposed to the outside, and thus more efficient and trapping heat.

Whoops. Got off on a little tangent there that had nothing to do with your original point.

Anecdotal evidence follows:

I ride my bike everywhere (or take mass transit) in the SF bay area. (I work at an upscale hamburger joint, how ironic). I eat mostly vegetarian, with meat maybe once or twice a week in small quantities. I eat a lot of carbohydrates, either as bread, pasta, dried beans or as vegetables and fruit. I get protein just fine, but never have I even considered eating three cheeseburgers in a week, let alone a day. Compared to my friends, I eat only a little more, and considering it is all (nearly) from CSAs and farmer's markets I think its cheaper than riding a 2000 pound car (that gets 40 mpg).


    You hardly provided any specific number how much more you have to eat and how much distance you ride your bike so it doesn't count as evidence of any kind. Let me do some estimate. Let say your body weight plus your bike totals 200 pounds. And you can effortlessly ride up a slope of 5 degrees. That means your drag force when riding on a flat road is equivalent to approximately 5 degrees of slope. That's a drag of about 100 newton force. Times that by one mile, which is 1609 meter. That's a work of 160900 Joules per mile of distance ridden, which is 38 KCal energy. In medical term we call 1 KCal (physics unit) one calorie. Consider some efficiency factor, you consume about 50 calories of food energy riding one mile, that's a number in par with peakguy's estimate above of 35-50 Calories.

    Now to compare with your vehicle, you ride your bike 40 miles, that cost you 2000 calories. According to this web site an average adult male consumes about 2200 calories a day being lightly active. So riding a bike 40 miles (no, I do not expect you to do 40 miles in just one day) cost you about three regular meals to replenish the food energy. That's about $15 cost in food if you spend $5 on a meal.

    On another hand, driving your vehicle 40 miles costs you one gallon of gasoline. Let's say it's $3/gallon. It costs you $3. I do not think you can buy three meals in just $3. At the end of day, energy from biomass, especially from human muscle, is still way too much expensive than direct burning of fossil fuel.

    Getting closer to your work is definitely a good idea. But that does not diminish the fact that comparing riding your bike and driving your car, consuming your biomass by riding bike is still more expensive, not to meantion that you also save gas if you have a smaller distance to drive. I am not trying to promote SUV or any type of vehicle. I still think the most efficient solution would be battery/electric driven bicycle. This way you save your body energy while also enjoy the eficiency of a bicycle.


There are far more costs to owning and driving a car than just the gasoline.  I'd say driving your gasoline-powered vehicle 40 miles costs at least the current reimbursement rate per mile, which is close to $0.50 a mile.  So 40 miles by car really costs almost $20.00; more if you must pay for parking.
Most of your math is about right, but your conclusion is just silly.

I also use a 50 calories-per-mile rule of thumb.  Since I, like most people in the United States, tend to eat too much, I consider this one of the big advantages of bicycling--but I'm still living in a cheap-energy world where empty calories are cheap and plentiful.  I've known people for whom the extra calorie consumption for long-distance riding is a big deal.  (In particular, a friend of mine had to abandon an summer bicycle tour around Lake Michigan and Lake Superior, because he hadn't budgeted for the extra 5000 calories a day he was eating.)

In practice, though, the extra few thousand calories needed to support a long communte by bicycle doesn't multiply your food budget; it's a pretty small incremental increase.  A big peanut butter sandwich can give you 500 calories and power you for 10 miles.  If you buy cheap bread ($2-$3 a loaf?) and cheap peanut butter ($3-$4 a jar?), the cost for 4 such sandwiches (to power you for 40 miles) comes in well under $3, I think.

I bicycled to work all last summer, and took many long weekend rides.  Although the savings in gasoline was substantial, any increase in my food budget was unnoticiable.

Once you're bicycling regularly, there are further savings available.  I haven't told my insurance company yet, but I meet the rules to say that my use of my car is "pleasure" (i.e., I drive to work less then 3 days a week), so I could save a bunch of money on insurance.  Maintenance is probably reduced by the fewer miles as well.  Partly because I bicycle and ride the bus, my wife and I only need to have one car.  In the last year we've probably reduced our use of the car to the point where it might make economic sense to sell the car and just rent one when we need one.  (It is a great luxury to have our own car, though, and we can afford it, so we haven't taken that step yet.)


    As you said we still live in an era when food is cheap and plentyful and people are generally over-nuitritioned. I am trying to argue what happens when that's no longer the case, when food is scarce and expensive and not so plentiful any more, just like oil is. The high food productivity todayis maintained by huge consumption of fossil fuels, you know that. But that will change. There will be massive die off in poor countries due to lack of food. And in better off countries, over-nuitrition will not be the case. People will barely absorb enough nuitrition to maintain their daily physical activity. The amount of calories you absorb and the monetary cost will be highly correlated, so you will have to carefully budget your daily calorie intake and consumption.

    Under that situation, you will find out that it is more economical to burn fuel to drive a vehicle to bring you around and conserve your body energy, rather than purchase food to supply you extra calories and burn them out in more active physical activity.

    Plus, there is no room for improvement in utilizing your food calorie energy. You just consume that much calorie to ride that many miles. You can't improve it. You can't eat less and also ride more miles, at least not in a sustained way.

    On the automatic vehicle end, there is still plenty of room for improvement. You can get rid of SUVs and drive a hybrid. My Prius gives me 60 miles on a gallon. And these vehicles can be made more efficient. And if you move to battery/electric driven bikes, it's even more efficient. And a better designed electric bike to reduce air drag will give you more mileages per kwh of electricity.

    So even in an energy depleted world, it is still a good virture and econimical to move your body less and let the machines do the work.

    BTW I doubt your calorie figure of peanut sandwiches. If each of the sandwich you made by spreading peanut butter onto two slices of bread contains 500 calories, and an average adult needs 2000 calories. I should be able to eat just 4 such sandwiches a day and not feel hungry or lose weight. But my perception is that's far from being enough!!!

When food is scarce and expensive, it will likely be because fuel is scarce and expensive.  I ewould xpect the prices to move up roughly together, so I wouldn't expect the proportions to change a whole lot.

On the other hand, the cost of a car will also go up with the cost of fuel.  (It takes a lot of energy to make steel, aluminium, plastic, glass, etc.)  That's where bicycles will have an enormous win.  When we see gasoline at, say, $15 a gallon, we may see peanut butter and bread costing five times more than they do now (although locally produced bread made from locally grown wheat may not go up as much as gasoline).  But, if we see the cost of raw materials go up by a factor of five, I would expect that to add a only a few hundred dollars to the cost of a bicycle, while I would expect it to add tens of thousands to the cost of a car.

I'll add to Philip's comments.

About a month ago, I switched from occasionally commuting by bike (about 10 miles or 16 kilometres five days a week) to always commuting by bike.  Except for the first few days, when I was constantly hungry (this was likely just dehydration mistaken for hunger), I noticed no change in the volume of food consumed.  But I do tend to drink a lot more water.

Before riding, I had to spend about four-and-a-half hours a week at the gym to keep my weight stable. Now that I'm riding, I can just heft some cheap dumbbells in the basement for strength training. No gym membership saves me $55 a month.

Now that I only rarely (maybe once every two weeks) take transit, I don't need a transit pass.  That saves me $70 a month.

But the reason I went with the bike, over the bus, is that it saves me time.  My weekly commute by transit, plus time spent in the gym, added up to 9.5 hours.  My weekly commuting time by bike, including changing time, is 6.5 hours.  Add the hour of basement dumbbelling, and cycling ends up saving me two hours a week.

Saving one-hundred hours and about $1400 a year (can't forget bike and clothing maintenance and replacement costs), with physical fitness as a side-effect, sure seems like an easy sell to me. And that's comparing a bike to transit. The bike-car comparison is staggering.

Anybody who thinks that a car, even a hybrid, generates less carbon-dioxide emissions than a cyclist's increased metabolism should really open up their high school physics texts. Even accounting for wasteful food production, this conclusion should be so obviously untrue that nobody should go to the trouble of offering numbers. As noted above, the relevant weight of a car and a bike are the crux of the argument.


    I am NOT claiming that your body's metablism releases more CO2 than your vehicle. However I am claiming that the production, transportation and preparation of your food are very energy intensive, and hence lots of fossil fuel were burned and lots of CO2 were emitted to produce the extra food calories you need to consume in order to ride your bike. So much that they are actually more than the alternative, which is you eat less food but drive your vehicle more. The CO2 from your body's metablism is but a negligible portion that I do not even count.

    Clearly you are a typical case of Americans who eat too much food and need intensive gym exercises to burn off extra food calorie and keep your body weight down. Had you been from a third world country and do not eat that much, you do not need to waste away any food calories to keep yourself fit. Americans are eating way too much more than their bodies need, probably twice as necessary. Producing all those extra food costs lots of extra fossil fuel in American agriculture industry. If we all eat less, the agriculture could use only a fraction of fossil fuels it current use, but still produce enough food to keep us fit and healthy.

    But never mind, when the oil depletion really kicks in and food becomes expensive and scarce, every one will be forced to eat no more than the minimum amount needed, and you will be more careful not to waste your body calories in un-necessary physical activities.

Ever see stories about those natives that run, blowing darts straight up at monkeys all day?  How much food do you get hunting monkeys?  

Sorry, but you're not convincing me.  Riding my old Trek 15 minutes to the office and back has to be easier than the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, which certainly involved very lean times.


    Riding a bike 15 minutes is not a lot of physical activity. Assuming you are going 20 mph that's a 5 miles ride one way, or 10 miles round trip. At 50 calories per mile you only need 500 calories, one quarter or one fifth more calories than your regular daily dose. However driving my prius 10 miles does not take much gasoline either, at 60 mpg it costs me 1/6 gallon, or 50 cents. All things considered, you still save more by save body calories.

    The problem with most people is you do not feel the correlation between physical activity and the amount of food intake is because you guys are over-feeding all the time and so when you increase your physical activity some what, you are still getting enough calories even if you eat no more than what you usually eat. Should you be put in a situation where you intake just enough calories and not a little bit more, then when you increase your physical activity, you either feel the urge to eat some more food, or you lose some of your body fat to compensate.

    Isn't that how most of the weight-loss program works? You exercise more to burn off body fat because there will be a deficit in your calorie intake through food. Clearly those weight-loss program works. So you do consume more calories when you have more physical activity in your body.

You are still claiming that the only cost of running a car is the gasoline.  You probably paid a premium for that Prius, and you are paying off that premium in your monthly payments.  You are also paying for insurance, registration, parking, maintenance.  So don't tell me that driving 10 miles costs any less than $5.00 unless you're driving a Twike.

BTW, most weight-loss programs don't work.

As usual I can count on my mother for the conservative take on anything.  She (or Rush) thinks Bloomberg should fire them all like Reagan did.  
Maybe we should line them all up and execute them for slowing the chain of capital slaves.  I bet Mom would love that too...


Everyone should remember Labor's attempts to make work safer and more humane has a long bloody trail behind it. Homestead Strike, Lattimer Massacre, Ludlow Massacre, and on and on....
Aghh, A Peoples History, lest we forget Shays' Rebellion.  Things that are mysteriously omitted from childhood History books...


"Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past. "
~ George Orwell, 1984

Isn't New York City famous for the Triangle Sweatshop Fire and the wonderful way in which unregulated "free markets" bring the best of times (squared) to the busy body hands of seamstitching women and their happy children?
This will last at least until after New Years.  $1 million a day?  Wait them out?
While that sounds like a lot, when you divide by 33,000 union members, that's just $30 per person per day. We could be waiting deep into 2006. The cost to NYC has been estimated in the hundreds of millions per day.
Actually, I was thinking that unless the union has many tens of millions of dollars in net worth, the fine may not be very useful.  That is, if the union quickly runs out of money, from that point forward they've got nothing left to lose...
Saw a couple of comments that show the ignorance of the commenter. Bus driving which I have 24 years experience is not something just anybody can do. I did not see a single driver who was promoted to a supervisory position ever voluntarily go back to bus driving. Every daily challenge has to be met alone. We cannot turn to the guy at the next desk and ask questions when a split second accident avoiding decision must be made. We are alone in coping with drunks and stoned teenagers several times every day. We face the stress of stupid people driving cars for hours at a time. If something happens to put us behind schedule we lose our break time. How many coffee breaks have you lost when your PC crashed? Bus drivers do not have the luxury of being 10 seconds away from a restroom. We do not know how many passengers are packing a gun but every year bus drivers are murdered by passengers.
I don't know the details of the stupid offer the drivers voted against or what special interests were behind not giving the drivers something acceptable. Back in the 80s I went from being a private employee to a public employee. I did not vote for any contract after that. The anti working family anti strike laws caused us to be losers every time. Unjust laws must not be obeyed but peacefully resisted until repeal.
Yes, it is so easy to denigrate the work of someone else.  Everything is so easy when you don't have to do it.  What did Bloomberg do to earn his fortune?  Was it really that much harder than driving a bus?  

I know well that some people have more skills and contribute more to society than others.  Doctors should be paid more than engineers or bus drivers.  But on the whole that is not what determines what someone is paid in this society.  Look at what we pay teachers vs football players.  What determines what someone earns is how much money they can make for the already wealthy.  So the union's job is to demonstrate what having them not work is going to cost, and the further they can raise that figure, the more likely it is that they will succeed.  The elites howl about how much money is being lost due to the strike, but that's only because the well-off are losing - no one would give a shit about those on the bottom of the pile not being able to get to their minimum wage jobs otherwise.  

The "scolding" tone that Bloomberg uses is irritating, as if somehow he would do otherwise if he were a bus driver.  How righteous they become when someone else tries to get a little.

One group that I didn't think about until last night that is really being affected by this strike, especially the timing is the homeless.  Many of the places they could normally find refuge from the cold are now not available.  Trains aren't running which was one way they kept warm, also, the many of the stations wher ethey could spend the evening are closed.  The weather is dangerously cold for sleeping outside, or even spending hours without moving.