Author: John Raskin

John Raskin, Executive Director, is an organizer and political leader with extensive experience in New York City and State politics. Prior to co-founding the Riders Alliance, he served as chief of staff to New York State Senator Daniel Squadron. Prior to that, he worked for five years as a community organizer and director of organizing for Housing Conservation Coordinators, an affordable housing advocacy organization on the West Side of Manhattan.

Donate to our “Members on Board” Summer Fundraising Campaign!

Please donate to our “Members on Board” summer fundraising campaign today!

You believe in our work to win better subways and buses for more than eight million daily riders, and to keep fares affordable for the New Yorkers who can least afford to pay more. And we can’t do it without you.

Now we’re asking you to take your support to the next level: please contribute to our “Members on Board” summer fundraising campaign.

Riders Alliance members are leading the grassroots fight for public transportation. Just this month, you held a dramatic reading of our “Subway Horror Stories” outside Governor Cuomo’s office in Manhattan, rallied for better C train service in Brooklyn, testified at Bus Rapid Transit hearings in Queens, and reached out to literally thousands of riders — to build a movement of riders demanding results.

Riders Alliance members are holding our elected officials accountable for better transit service and affordable fares. We’re building a powerful grassroots movement.

We need your help to make it happen. Please donate to our “Members on Board” summer fundraising campaign today so we can continue to fight for better service at affordable fares for millions of New Yorkers.

We Read Your Subway Horror Stories at Gov. Cuomo’s Office!

Subway Horror Stories002 web copyOn Sunday, Riders Alliance members camped out in front of Governor Cuomo’s New York City office, gathering around our campfire to share your Subway Horror Stories. Thanks to everyone who joined us for a great event!

If you couldn’t make it to the event, you can sign our #RideCuomoRide petition inviting the Governor to take a ride with us during rush hour to see for himself what all your horror stories are about! You can also read more about the event at the New York Post, New York Daily NewsamNY, and Metro New York!

We also want to thank everyone–over 400 of you!–who submitted their stories. We wanted to share some of our favorites with you, so that the next time you’re underground on a C train with no air conditioning or waiting on a platform wondering whether the L will show up today, you’ll know you’re not alone!

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But the story doesn’t end here: our terrible tales can have happier endings if G

overnor Cuomo and our Legislature step up and fund our subways and buses.

Right now, the MTA’s five-year capital plan has a $14 billion funding gap–and it’s up to our Governo

r and Legislature to close it. If Governor Cuomo

doesn’t fund our subways and buses, fares will go up and service will get worse–and riders will have many more subway horror stories to tell.

If you agree that Governor Cuomo should fund the MTA, sign our #RideCuomoRide petition. After seeing what New Yorkers deal with every day, we’re sure he’ll finally understand why we need him to be a leader for better public transit in New York. And after you sign our petition, head over here to read some of your Subway Horror Stories!

Has your subway gotten worse?

subwayhorrorstoriesqns-7Our members report that subway service has been a disaster this week. Trains not arriving, hours spent underground… Has this happened to you?

If so, please share your subway horror story with us.  We’re collecting riders’ stories to take to Governor Cuomo and members of the state legislature, who have to decide whether or not to fully fund the next MTA capital plan.

Our elected leaders need to know that their decisions have real impacts on people’s lives.  It’s MTA capital funding that pays for new signals, new train cars–all of the things that have been breaking down all over town.  And there is a $15 billion gap in the next MTA capital plan.

Share your subway horror story today.  Give us the gory details on our web site, or tweet at us @RidersNY with our hashtags #SubwayStruggles #ThanksCuomo.

Help us tell lawmakers: transit funding matters, and bankrupting the MTA has consequences. Share your subway story and we’ll take it to the top!

 

Riders Alliance 2015 Campaign Plan

Neighborhood by neighborhood, Riders Alliance members are fighting for better public transit service at affordable fares for all New Yorkers. We hope you’ll join us as we embark on our ambitious 2015 agenda!

Some of our 2015 campaigns include:

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1. State Funding for Public Transit
Metrocard fares are rising yet again–for the fifth time in just seven years. If Governor Cuomo and legislators don’t step up and do their part to fund the MTA’s 5-year capital plan, riders could face even larger fare hikes in the future. We’re organizing riders to fight for the funds we need to keep our subways and buses running–without another enormous hike in transit fares. Visit ridersny.org/funding to join the fight for fair fares!

2. Bus Rapid Transit for NYC
Almost 900,000 New Yorkers commute more than an hour each way to work, and that number is growing. Bus Rapid Transit can help: a real BRT system would help hundreds of thousands of people spend less time in transit and more time at home with their families. Riders Alliance members are pushing for BRT on key corridors around the city:

  • Woodhaven Boulevard in Queens
  • Flushing-Jamaica in Queens
  • Utica Avenue in Central Brooklyn
  • 86th Street in Manhattan

Visit ridersny.org/brt to learn what you can do to help win this important–and cost-effective–improvement for bus riders.

3. Improving the C Train in Central Brooklyn
The C train is notoriously infrequent and unreliable, but it’s a lifeline for many New Yorkers—especially in Central Brooklyn, where riders have no other options.  We won a Full Line Review of the A and C trains; now it’s time to make sure that review leads to real changes.  Visit ridersny.org/ctrain to get involved.

4. Implementing Pre-Tax Transit Benefits

Last year we won important new citywide legislation that expands access to pre-tax transit benefits—which could help save the average New Yorker making the median wage as much as $443 per year. We estimate that 450,000 New York City residents will newly gain access to transit benefits when the bill goes into effect. Our next job is to follow though and make sure that the city implements this new law as effectively and aggressively as possible. Contact rebecca@ridersny.org to help out.

5. Expanding Countdown Clocks
In 2014, we won $3 million in new funds in the City budget to expand the number of bus stop countdown clocks in the city—from only a handful of bus stop countdown clocks right now to more than 100 next year. In 2015, we’re going to keep up the pressure to make sure these bus stop countdown clocks are actually installed, and to make them cheaper so we can win more.  We may even expand our countdown clock campaign to include the lettered subway lines that still don’t have this popular technology. Contact rebecca@ridersny.org to let us know you’re on board.

6. …and more!
What is your idea to improve public transit? Riders Alliance is always looking for ideas to improve public transit in New York. Please tell us what will make your commute better—we welcome input on concerns as universal as “I think crosstown buses should be free” and as specific as “the signage is confusing at my subway station.” How could subway or bus service improve for you? Tell us here.

Mayor Signs Our Transit Benefits Bill

Big news for riders! Mayor De Blasio signed Council Member Garodnick’s new legislation that will help hundreds of thousands of transit riders save money on subway and bus fares with pre-tax transit benefits.

Mimi

Riders Alliance member Mimi telling the press what pre-tax transit benefits can do for riders.

Transit benefits make riding the subway and bus more affordable by allowing workers to set aside up to $130 per month in pre-tax earnings to pay for public transit. Council Member Garodnick’s legislation will expand access to these savings by requiring employers of 20 or more people to offer this benefit in New York City.

The Riders Alliance analysis estimates that:

· Council Member Garodnick’s bill would allow an estimated 450,000 new people to take advantage of the transit tax break

· An average New Yorker who makes the median wage could save $443 every year with the transit tax break

· Businesses who sign up save money too: for every employee at the median wage who signs up, businesses can save $103 every year in taxes

· If the bill is signed into law, New Yorkers will keep more than $50 million each year in the local economy instead of spending the money on taxes.

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Thanks to Council Member Dan Garodnick for his leadership and the NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign for working alongside us to pass this bill. And special thanks to Riders Alliance grassroots members who worked hard to make this savings a reality for more New Yorkers!