New York City’s Mayor Bloomberg talks a mean game. He’s pushing a congestion pricing policy that tolls car-traffic $4 to drive below 86th Street in Manhattan, looking into a citywide bike-rental system similar to Paris’ Vélib program, and has stirred much attention for his propensity to use public transportation.
Now, a couple of things stick out here. Yes, being driven in an SUV for a shortened subway ride and then scoffing at other New Yorkers who bitch about over-crowded trains does smack of absurdity. What really puzzles me here is: why the heck are there TWO SUV’s picking him up!? I mean, it’s not like the guy is too worried about assassination attempts if he’s riding in a train… What gives!?
So, rather than the mayor’s schlep to work simply requiring a driver to pick the mayor up in a honking SUV to drive him to City Hall, we have TWO honking SUV’s driving two round-trips (with the mayor briefly aboard), plus Bloomberg getting on a train for photo-ops. If you’re keeping score on your Carbon calculator, we’re not doing so well here.
Of course the adage about the importance of perception is doubly true in politics. If the mayor’s example encourages others to ride subways and drive less, then maybe he deserves a little slack. The mayor has power as a role model: so long as hack bloggers (and some rag called the NY Times) turn a blind eye to the hypocrisy, his efforts to clean up NYC an be app. Unfortunately the commuting example that he intends is very different than the one he sets here.