Mother of All Traffic Jams


I have friends going to Washington for Obama’s inauguration, but I’m content to watch it on TV, thank you very much. Even the DC Metro system is expecting madhouse-level crowds:

“It will be sardine crush-load on the way in and sardine crush-load on the way out,” agency spokeswoman Lisa Farbstein said.

The image, by the way, is of the special $7.80 weekend pass the Metro folks will be selling for the inauguration. They suggest buying in advance.

Matt Yglesias isn’t convinced of the soundness of Metro’s approach, given that they plan to waive parking charges at stations for the day:

Fares and fees should really be kept as low as possible, with as much of operating costs as possible covered by direct subsidy. The exception to this guideline, however, is when you’re genuinely up against a supply constraint. When you can’t fit any more people on to your trains and there’s no good way to expand service, you need to use pricing to keep demand in check, even in an Yglesian world where transit funding was sky-high. … What’s more we of course don’t live in that ideal world where public subsidy is generous enough to use fees purely for rationing purposes. Metro needs to cover some of its operating costs through fares and parking fees. And Inauguration Day is a potential bonanza in that regard.

Spoken like a true right-winger there, Matt.