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.

City Council Passes Our Transit Benefits Bill

Big news for riders! The City Council has passed 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.

rest-easy-riders-alliance-transit-benefits

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!

We won bus countdown clocks!

bus countdown clock rally photo FINALBig news for bus riders: 11 City Council Members and the Brooklyn Borough President approved over $2.8 million to install countdown clocks at bus stops across the city!

Bus countdown clocks are a major step forward in improving the daily commutes of riders in all five boroughs. See details at WNYC, CBS, DNAinfo, NY1, amNY and Metro.

Bus countdown clocks will now be appearing in the following districts:

Bronx:  Fernando Cabrera ($113,000); Andrew Cohen ($40,000)
Brooklyn:  Brad Lander ($240,000); Mark Treyger ($100,000), Borough President Eric Adams ($60,000)
Manhattan: Margaret Chin ($260,000); Dan Garodnick ($950,000); Corey Johnson ($35,000); Ben Kallos ($640,000)
Queens: Eric Ulrich ($180,000); Mark Weprin ($35,000)
Staten Island: Steven Matteo ($200,000)

This victory is testament to the power of organizing: thank you to our grassroots Riders Alliance members who worked alongside our allies in City Council to make this city-wide improvement happen.

Our Ambitious 2014 Agenda

Mayor-elect de Blasio has promised 20 Bus Rapid Transit routes to help beleaguered commuters.

Mayor-elect de Blasio has promised 20 Bus Rapid Transit routes to help beleaguered commuters.

Thank you to all our members for a fantastic 2013.

For an organization that’s only 18 months old, we’ve already made great strides.

This year alone, we won:
25% more G trains throughout the afternoon and evening;
• Buses that run earlier, later and more often on the Astoria and Long Island City waterfront;
Station improvements for N and Q train riders; and
• Additional services for riders affected by the R and G train tunnel construction. Continued…

You’re Invited: 2013 Gala

facebook logoPlease join us for the Riders Alliance 2013 Gala, a fun opportunity to celebrate the progress we’ve made and prepare for the coming year.  RSVP today to join the party!

 

Recent Riders Alliance Victories!

Lauren Houston 8-7-13 Astoria Victory Rally

Riders Alliance members speak at a rally celebrating station improvements in Queens.

It’s been a big summer of victories for the Riders Alliance!

We won a better G train that will improve service for more than 100,000 riders. We won more express buses and trains on nearby lines while the R and G tunnels are closed for Sandy repairs. We won more frequent and reliable bus service along Astoria and LIC’s waterfront. We advocated for “50 Fixes” on the N and Q trains in Astoria, and the MTA used our members’ list to go through stations, fix staircases, add lights and replace missing signs.

We rallied, wrote an op-ed in the Daily News, and worked with elected officials and mayoral candidates to push the MTA to invest a small surplus in restoring and increasing transit service. Then, when the MTA approved its preliminary budget for 2014…it included $18 million for more new and restored service!

These are valuable steps for transit riders that were made possible by the work of our grassroots members, local elected officials, and community allies. There is more we need to do, and by becoming a member today, you can help us get there. It’s how we’ll improve transit over the long term—by building our organization from the bottom-up, and winning the funding, attention and investment required to build a 21st century transit system for all New Yorkers.