Transit- Some New Yorkers would prefer endless summer hours

Posted: November 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

Oct. 29, 2013

UPDATED 4:31 P.M.: For many New Yorkers, the joy of receiving an extra hour of sack time — as will happen this Sunday when we turn our clocks back one hour – is eclipsed by dismay at darkness descending earlier, and the various physical and family chaos this will cause.

Having to switch time twice a year \”is a headache!\” exclaimed Jack Blazejewicz, 42, a transit worker who lives in Levittown.

Adding and subtracting an hour throws the sleep schedule of his 6 and 8–year-old sons — not to mention his own — into havoc. And overnight workers \”have to work an extra hour,\” this Sunday, Blazejewicz noted. (A spokesman for the Transport Workers Union 100 said hourly transit workers are paid overtime for the extra hour worked Nov. 3, and get paid for the regular eight-hour shift when they only labor for seven during the March \”spring forward\” switch.)

A Rasmussen survey in March said that only 37% of Americans believe daylight saving time is worth the hassle and 45% don\’t think the clock-changing ritual is worth it at all. The study did not reveal how many people would prefer to see DST implemented all year long, to provide more light at the end of the day, but that concept is disproportionately popular in NYC.

\”Rural people are against DST and urban people are for it,\” explained David Prerau, PhD, author of \”Seize the Daylight: The Curious and Contentious Story of Daylight Saving Time.\”

\”People in the eastern part of a time zone (i.e. NYC) like DST while people in the western part of a time zone (say, northern Michigan) don\’t,\” like it, as they already reap its benefits during standard time, Prerau noted.

Jeffrey Wendt, 43, would love to see DST year round. Not only does his appetite increase when the days get shorter, but as a bicycle commuter, he worries about getting hit by a car in the dark. Once the clock hiccups, \”I can\’t wear all black any more. I have to start wearing reflective clothing,\” said the Greenpoint photo editor. Yes, the hour of light he loses later in the day is tacked on to the morning, \”but I don\’t go to work at 5 a.m., so it doesn\’t help me,\” he said.

Steve Calandrillo, the Charles I. Stone professor at the University of Washington School of Law has been trying for years to convince congress to switch to DST all year long. He argues that tacking an hour of light on to the end of winter days would save about 400 lives and oodles of injuries each year that result from traffic accidents, (\”there\’s a three fold increase in traffic fatalities after dark\”), dramatically slash street crime (criminals prefer working evenings and are rarely early risers), and save energy (in most places). Switching to DST would also reduce heart attacks and health problems caused by disrupted circadian rhythms, according to studies the professor has amassed. \”I hate the way the media portrays,\” portrays the autumn switch, Calandrillo fumed: Just as there is no free lunch, there is no free hour, he pointed out.

Time changes are administered by the Department of Transportation, but only Congress can change the dates of time changes or abolish them completely.

Congress last extended Daylight Saving Time in 2005 (with implementation in 2007), giving the U.S. the longest DST – almost eight months – in the world, noted Perau, who deems the current system a fair compromise. Russia moved to year-round DST in 2011, but some factions there continue to push for a return to \”seasonal time.\” Spain is considering altering its time zone from European Central Time to Greenwich Mean Time, to better align with its neighbors and improve productivity, while Britain is debating a switch from Greenwich to Central time.

Given the chaos and polarization in Washington D.C, it is unlikely anyone in Congress will seize on changing the DST schedule as a priority.

Repeated requests for comment about the topic to the offices of congressional representatives Carolyn Maloney, Charles Rangel, Yvette Clarke and Hakeem Jeffries were variously acknowledged, but none yielded a response or statement.

Finally, a spokesman for Jeffries copped to the fact that Jeffries prefers to study an issue before making a statement and \”this is not one he particularly has time to focus on,\” said his spokes woman, Stephanie Baez.

via Some New Yorkers would prefer endless summer hours.

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