• Will They Ever Return?

  • This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.
This forum will be for issues that don't belong specifically to one NYC area transit agency, but several. For instance, intra-MTA proposals or MTA-wide issues, which may involve both Metro-North Railroad (MNRR) and the Long Island Railroad (LIRR). Other intra-agency examples: through running such as the now discontinued MNRR-NJT Meadowlands special. Topics which only concern one operating agency should remain in their respective forums.

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by eolesen
 

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
While the bosses have enough evidence on hand that knowledge workers can be just as productive WFH, their egos "take a hit" in that they cannot call some useless meeting (isn't that now a "huddle" in new officespeak) and otherwise simply "be a boss".
Egos are equally stoked via Zoom or Teams meetings... maybe even more so because being out of the office is no longer an excuse for declining their meeting invite.

Huddles are usually a single topic meeting that could have been a 10-15 reply email chain... I prefer the huddle. Most are done within a few minutes, and is a lot more efficient than how things would have been handled a decade ago (a 30 minute meeting with some poor hack having to produce 10-12 slides of why something needed to be done and three options including a do-nothing).

Speaking only for my experience with the company I work for.... our HR department has finally allowed workers to define where they want to be taxed as opposed to defaulting to our work address. That has led to many "bosses" now having their own financial justification for staying in their pre-company home in Texas or some other low tax state.

Since NYC still taxes employees living outside NYC for the privilege of working in the City, the combination of tech with a tax declaration policy like ours would be an immediate pay raise for tens of thousands of bankers, traders, and lawyers who can now work just as easily from 100 or 3000 miles away....

Back here, METRA, with a fair amount of new equipment on order and with hourly service through the day on the BNSF, is now trying out a $100 monthly "anywhere pass". The "Four Zone" monthly pass (20 miles) was about $145. All I can see is a dilution of revenue, and not much in the way of attracting new riders.

Out in San Francisco, which has seen the greatest Exodus from the office, who knows what the fate of the Peninsula line will be? That too is being rebuilt, but along the lines of an Interurban. Only problem; while I could be mistaken on this point as I haven't "been out there" in over thirty years (not a boycott; just no reason), I don't think any of the "Temples to Technology" are exactly convenient to the former SP rail line.
I have to wonder how much of that Metra order with Alstom is actually delivered. There's no question the Budd and PS cars need retirement after 50+ years of service, but I don't think they'll continue replacements of the Amerail cars just yet.

The Caltrans peninsula line being electrified is a double edge sword. Huge cost for conversion, but they made a decision to only do a 75% fleet replacement with EMU's. Running 2 or 4 car sets instead of full length 7 car trains becomes an option.

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  by STrRedWolf
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 8:22 am While the bosses have enough evidence on hand that knowledge workers can be just as productive WFH, their egos "take a hit" in that they cannot call some useless meeting (isn't that now a "huddle" in new officespeak) and otherwise simply "be a boss".
A "huddle" is used in Slack. I don't know what Skype for Biz uses. Technically, it's an "ad-hoc meeting" that anyone can hold, and usually folks ask first. They're useful when folks can't understand (or communicate clearly through) email, or need some hand-holding -- especially if they're a junior programmer or... a sales "engineer" who hasn't been trained on the product.
But to the parties in interest - the business district restaurants, "watering holes", the Bootblack, and of primary interest to those gathering here, the commuter railroads, it is simply "one more nail in the coffin".

Sooner or later in the New York area, MNRR and the LIRR (maybe even NJT) will have to accept they cannot support maybe a busload of passengers on half hour frequency trains. On my trip "out East" last month, I did do about an hour of railfanning at Riverside CT (no room ready at the hotel); all told, could not see "too many faces in the windows, butts in the seats".

Back here, METRA, with a fair amount of new equipment on order and with hourly service through the day on the BNSF, is now trying out a $100 monthly "anywhere pass". The "Four Zone" monthly pass (20 miles) was about $145. All I can see is a dilution of revenue, and not much in the way of attracting new riders.

Out in San Francisco, which has seen the greatest Exodus from the office, who knows what the fate of the Peninsula line will be? That too is being rebuilt, but along the lines of an Interurban. Only problem; while I could be mistaken on this point as I haven't "been out there" in over thirty years (not a boycott; just no reason), I don't think any of the "Temples to Technology" are exactly convenient to the former SP rail line.
Yeah, there's going to be a time where I have to ping upper management on true "return to desk" status. Things are getting a bit better but gas is hitting that $5/gal mark. I dread my Lyft trip to the train station.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 12:57 pm Things are getting a bit better but gas is hitting that $5/gal mark. I dread my Lyft trip to the train station.
Mr. Wolf, I must ask; not having ever used any "rideshare" service in this life.

Is there an automatic fuel surcharge built into their rates and such is passed directly to the drivers, or are the rates set in the competitive marketplace and the drivers "get what they get"?
  by eolesen
 
Both my sons drove for Grubhub and Doordash during the pandemic, and have since quit because they can't break even anymore. I don't think Uber or Lyft are doing much. They added a small surcharge but it's not distance based or adjusting as local prices continue to rise.

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  by STrRedWolf
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sun Jun 05, 2022 3:34 pm Mr. Wolf, I must ask; not having ever used any "rideshare" service in this life.

Is there an automatic fuel surcharge built into their rates and such is passed directly to the drivers, or are the rates set in the competitive marketplace and the drivers "get what they get"?
I would think it's the former, but this was way pre-pandemic and recently Uber and Lyft are raising the rates anyway as they've burned through the VC cash that subsidized the low rates to begin with. It makes me glad I'm no longer using them on a daily basis... but it's going to be just another taxi company.
  by eolesen
 
I just pulled up a ride to the airport in the Uber app and it's about the same I paid in 2018...

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  by scratchyX1
 
unpopular opinion.
That lyft and or uber will very suddenly leave the market, with a major mobility gap created by the sudden departure.
  by daybeers
 
It was always a false economy, and the drivers make no money. The only ones who are making any sort of money are delivery e-bikers in NYC who salmon on bike lanes while scaring pedestrians and other bikers. It's the same with Amazon's independent drivers.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Having never used any rideshare (must confess: I have been a passenger within a party twice in this life: Chicago last October and Atlanta last February - got there safely in both cases) in this life, I must wonder how many drivers really know how they are losing - and big time - from the business setup.

Now I'm quite satisfied that any of the rideshares properly report on a 1099-MISC a driver's gross receipts and they do offer some kind of "broad stroke" tax advice. But when a driver completes a Schedule C, how many are conscious of the loss they surely are taking? And just think; if they have no other appreciable source of income, such as a spouse's job, that loss goes nowhere (save one usually meaningless exception from an NOL), i.e. does not translate into a tax benefit.

I'm sure when they sign up and their vehicle passes the rideshare's inspection, there is a good influx of cash. Gas can "go on the card" and get paid when of if ever, vehicle maintenance and repairs haven't yet kicked in. You must wonder how many former drivers are "in over their heads" with cards.

Just like for many if not most "gig workers" out there, the system is simply "crud".
  by STrRedWolf
 
eolesen wrote: Mon Jun 06, 2022 10:55 am I just pulled up a ride to the airport in the Uber app and it's about the same I paid in 2018...

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Here's the NPR report from last month:
https://www.npr.org/2022/03/14/10865779 ... arge-price

If you're hailing in NYC, though, no surcharge is there.

Still... it would not be surprising if they start raising again.
  by eolesen
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Tue Jun 07, 2022 6:38 am I'm sure when they sign up and their vehicle passes the rideshare's inspection, there is a good influx of cash. Gas can "go on the card" and get paid when of if ever, vehicle maintenance and repairs haven't yet kicked in. You must wonder how many former drivers are "in over their heads" with cards.

Just like for many if not most "gig workers" out there, the system is simply "crud".
Yes and no... You have varying degrees of "investment" and risk in driving for rideshares....
  • zealots who went all-in and bought one or more used cars just for rideshare use
  • unemployed using rideshare to supplement their unemployment/severance/alimony/child support/social security
  • weekend and evening warriors who would target airports, sporting events, etc.
  • casual drivers who would pick up a ride on the way to their own job or back home, or who had other jobs that required them to be doing a lot of driving
For the folks at the bottom of that list, I don't know that it worked out so bad while gas prices were low.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Volks, please accept that I'm not attempting to transform this topic to "Soc 101", which I took as a Freshman, this Times article provides a roundup of knowledge workers' employers regarding where they stand on the RTO dilemma with which they are confronted:

Fair Use:
Optimism about return-to-office plans, across industries and cities, is slowly abating. When asked in early 2021 about the share of their workers who would be back in the office five days a week in the future, executives said 50 percent; now that percentage is down to 20, according to a recent survey from the consulting firm Gartner. Office occupancy across the country plateaued last month at around 43 percent as Covid cases spiked again, according to data from Kastle, a security firm.

The vast majority of Americans, particularly those in the service sector and low-wage jobs, have been working in person throughout the pandemic. But those who were able to work remotely got attached to the flexibility. In a January survey, the Pew Research Center found that 60 percent of workers whose jobs can be done at home wanted to work remote most or all of the time.

“What is abundantly clear is that there are fewer and fewer companies expecting their employees to be in the office five days a week,” said Brian Kropp, vice president in Gartner’s human resources practice. “Even some of the major companies that came out and said we want our employees in the office five days a week are starting to backtrack.”
What I'm not certain about is how many of the employers surveyed is mass transportation reasonable and practical? It would appear to me now than Austin TX is rapidly becoming the "new Silicon Valley" (I guess "Silicon Plains" :wink:), I wonder if they have much in the way of mass transportation infrastructure or would ever choose to develop such?

Once again, I'm not losing sight that we gather here to address issues affecting passenger rail transportation. But the issues addressed in this and the other non-rail articles I have linked, certainly have impact on the future of such.
  by lordsigma12345
 
I don't understand the appeal of remote work myself. I enjoy the socialization with my coworkers and being on site - furthermore watching my steps I found myself moving less than ever working from home - a record low amount of physical activity - and having a harder time "logging out" at the end of the day. Now if I were married with children and this meant more time with the kids perhaps I'd feel different but I fear remote work is going to further divide us. People living in their WFH bubbles getting to pick and choose every single external interaction they have. It's going to make it harder for people that have the privilege of the WFH bubble to relate to the folks that don't have that option and create even more resentment than there is now. The entitlement about WFH I hear about from some of my coworkers is really striking. Prior to the pandemic WFH wasn't an option at all - and we now allow you to do it twice a week and come in 3 days. The amount of entitlement and whining about having to come in three days I hear from a couple co workers...I just shake my head... I think down the road we are going to find WFH to be unhealthy for the civil discourse and society in general.
  by daybeers
 
I wholeheartedly agree WFH will further divide the country socially and socioeconomically and have extremely negative health consequences.

It's a very interesting time...
  by eolesen
 
WFH has to be one of the greenest policies around. Very interesting to see liberals so opposed to it...

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