1. It doesn't negate the point, but I felt that it needed to be said.
2. NYCT loses money on every passenger on the expresses. They're very expensive for NYCT to operate. They lose more money with a $3 fare than with a $4 fare, but the motivation behind reducing the fare was more politics than economics.
It may well be so that pirates are still skimming passengers off the X27 and X28. Is "ar" saying here that pirates aren't still skimming passengers off the Staten Island routes? As to the fare they're charging, since they're operating illegally (whether anyone's going after them or not) they can charge whatever they feel they can get from their customers. Their speed advantage lies in:
a. Picking up only where they feel like, as opposed to every stop along the route
b. Beginning their "express" portion as soon as the vehicle fills up, rather than continuing to pick up passengers -- and remember, lots of these pirates have 22-passenger "buses" that can fill up much faster than NYCT's 57-seaters.
c. Operating the vehicles with the primary consideration being speed rather than safety.
3. Yeah, I forgot about the X23 and X24, which are pretty recent additions to the Staten Island route system.