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:


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.

Why Woodhaven Boulevard Needs Bus Rapid Transit

Bus riders know first-hand: Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevards need fixing.  This major corridor claims the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in all of Queens every year. And it’s congested: for the 30,000 bus riders who ride along this corridor every day, it can mean extreme commutes of up to 2 hours sitting on the bus in traffic.

That’s why bus riders are fighting for Bus Rapid Transit on Woodhaven and Cross Bay Boulevard. The DOT recently unveiled it’s design proposals for how to fix Woodhaven Blvd with many of the improvements we have been fighting for–like median bus-lanes, off-board fare collection, and wider walkways for pedestrians.

But there’s still a lot more work ahead. Bus riders and allies in our BRT for NYC coalition created a video to show why local residents need these improvements on Woodhaven Boulevard. Please watch our video and share it with family and friends!  Use our hashtag: #fixwoodhaven to help spread the word.

Why Woodhaven Boulevard Needs Bus Rapid Transit:

Get in touch with Jess to join the campaign at jess@ridersny.org or 212-590-9428.

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.


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.


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!

Bus Rapid Transit for Woodhaven Boulevard

More than 879,000 New Yorkers commute over an hour to work–each way. Two thirds of these “extreme commuters” earn less than $35,000 a year.

New Yorkers in every neighborhood need transit options that are affordable, safe and reliable.

woodhaven bus gathering photo4-compressed for webThat’s why we’re pushing to implement Bus Rapid Transit in New York City. With protected lanes and level boarding, BRT will yield faster, safer, more reliable bus service at a fraction of the cost of building new subway routes.

Right now, the city’s Department of Transportation is considering implementing BRT on Woodhaven Boulevard, which suffers from extreme traffic congestion and claims the highest number of pedestrian fatalities in Queens.

Streetsblog is calling this plan the “the most exciting street redesign in the works in New York City right now.” And the Daily News highlights how BRT could significantly speed up travel times for bus riders.

We need your help bringing BRT to Woodhaven Boulevard. We’re organizing bus riders along the route so that their voices can be heard.

Here’s one Woodhaven Blvd. bus rider’s story:

Why we need a better Woodhaven Boulevard:

“As a longtime Queens resident, I have been witnessing the growth and expansion of this borough. But bus service along Woodhaven Boulevard is lackluster, unsafe and unreliable. Local bus service is getting cut and buses get stuck in traffic. Throngs of people get on and off the bus no matter the time of day or night. Woodhaven is underserved and I am tired of it. As a student and working class employee in Queens, I deserve comprehensive public transportation like BRT.”

-Emily December, Woodhaven resident and bus rider

Learn more about Bus Rapid Transit and our diverse coalition of advocates and stakeholders at www.BRTforNYC.com. Contact Jess at jess@ridersny.org to learn more about getting involved in our campaign for BRT on Woodhaven Boulevard.

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.