Launching a New Era of Fighting for Reliable, Affordable Public Transit, Riders Alliance Taps Progressive Leader Betsy Plum as New Executive Director
Plum Brings a Decade of Experience in Policy Advocacy, Grassroots Organizing and Non-Profit Leadership to Spearhead the Next Stage of New York’s Organization of Transit Riders
New York, NY–The Riders Alliance, which organizes subway and bus riders to win reliable, affordable public transit and make New York a more equitable city, announced today that the organization has selected Betsy Plum as its next Executive Director. Most recently Vice President of Policy at the New York Immigration Coalition, Plum has more than a decade of experience advancing local, state, and federal initiatives to broaden opportunity for low-income New Yorkers and New Yorkers of color from around the globe. She will begin on February 18th and will succeed John Raskin, the organization’s founding Executive Director, who has served in the role since the organization began in 2012.
Plum is a rising leader in New York’s progressive organizing community, known particularly for her leadership in the effort to count every New Yorker in the 2020 census, including NYIC’s successful Supreme Court battle to stop the Trump Administration from adding a citizenship question to the census, and her role in helping to win NYC’s municipal identification program “IDNYC” and the “Green Light” campaign to win universal access to drivers licenses.
Her knowledge of public policy advocacy and New York’s political scene will be vital as the Riders Alliance works in 2020 to ensure that its congestion pricing victory results in significant improvements in transit service, that the promises secured from the MTA and the Mayor to improve bus service come to fruition, and that the City successfully rolls out the Fair Fares discount MetroCard program to cover every New Yorker living at or below the federal poverty line.
“Like millions of other New Yorkers, I ride our subways and buses every day, and know that we deserve better: fares that are affordable, stations that are easy to access, trains and buses that run on time no matter where you live or work,” said incoming Riders Alliance Executive Director Betsy Plum. “I could not be more energized to join the organization pounding the pavement on these issues day in and day out. Riders Alliance organizes the power of all of us riders, focusing our voices and needs, and ensuring our political leaders are held accountable. I am so honored to help lead the next exciting chapter, and to ensure New York City is the world-class city built on fairness and equity that we know it can be.”
“Betsy is a proven leader with a strong understanding of how to win progressive policy in a complicated political environment,” said outgoing Executive Director John Raskin. “Betsy understands policy and organizational leadership, but most importantly she understands how to build grassroots power, which is the only way we can win better public transit over the long term. With a smart and respected leader like Betsy in charge, I am confident that the Riders Alliance will continue to make New York a fairer, more sustainable city for many years to come.”
“We are incredibly lucky to have Betsy Plum at the helm of the Riders Alliance,” said Michael Freedman-Schnapp, Chair of the Riders Alliance Board of Directors. “With her leadership we will continue to turn the tide on investment in public transit and build on our recent victories of enacting congestion pricing and Fair Fares. As an experienced strategist, Betsy has the knowledge of how to unlock the power of millions of transit riders to effect change.”
In her prior roles, Betsy Plum led the New York Immigration Coalition’s policy strategy and campaign development, rapid response initiatives, and played a key leadership role in the organization’s growth. She led policy and advocacy campaigns at the local, state, and federal level, helping to win key legislation and millions of new dollars in city and state funding to benefit immigrant New Yorkers. In the wake of the 2016 presidential election, Betsy stepped up to lead the NYIC’s comprehensive response campaign, This is Our New York, which reached hundreds of thousands of immigrant New Yorkers and focused investment in grassroots organizing, community education, and legal services. As a member of the New York Immigration Coalition executive leadership team, Betsy helped grow the organization into a major statewide player ready to robustly engage in 2020 and beyond.
The Riders Alliance was founded in 2012 to hold elected leaders and decision-makers accountable for improving public transit. In eight years, the organization has helped to focus public attention on the policy choices that have led to deteriorating transit service and has become a leading force for stronger investment in public transportation. The Riders Alliance played a key role in securing support for congestion pricing, Fair Fares for low-income transit riders, and a commitment to improve bus service on local routes across the city.