New York is developing a public transit crisis.
More people are riding public transit than ever before, and that’s a good thing. When New Yorkers take the subway or bus instead of driving a car or staying home, our entire city benefits: from less automobile pollution, from greater economic activity, and from people coming together to build a great city.
But investment in our infrastructure isn’t keeping pace with how transit is used. Subways are breaking down more often, buses and stuck in traffic, and delays are skyrocketing. New Yorkers have the longest commutes in the nation.
Public transit should be the great equalizer. If transit is fulfilling its promise, it serves as a lifeline that people in affordable neighborhoods can use to access jobs and economic opportunity. It is a public service that the entire city relies on: commuters, employers, and entire communities that thrive because they are connected to each other via transit.
But that only happens if transit is reliable, and if it’s affordable for everyone to ride. Today, public transit in New York is failing on both counts.
That is why our members–everyday riders who care about public transit–are pushing back. In the last four years, we’ve won legislation that will help an additional 450,000 New Yorkers save money with pre-tax transit benefits; new Bus Rapid Transit routes that will serve tens of thousands of riders; modern investments like bus stop countdown clocks, and a commitment from the Governor and Mayor to invest billions of dollars to upgrade MTA infrastructure.
But we have much further to go. Today, we are working to make transit more affordable by fighting for strong public funding and for #FairFares for low-income New Yorkers. We are fighting for reliable bus service so that people can live in any neighborhood in the city and know they can get to work on time. And we are pushing to make public transit a priority for our elected officials.
The Riders Alliance is working to turn riders into activists–into grassroots leaders who are informed, united and able to demand change from the elected officials who work for us. With eight million people on public transit in New York every day, we should be the most powerful constituency in the city. At the Riders Alliance, we believe that organizing subway and bus riders is the only way to get there.