Local Commuters Join State Senator Gustavo Rivera To Discuss Transit Improvements
April 13, 2012
Michael Murphy 646-873-6008
Last night, Transportation Alternatives and State Senator Gustavo Rivera (D-Bronx) co-sponsored the second Bronx Transit Town Hall. Around 30 locals from Fordham Heights, University Heights and other Bronx communities attended and discussed how to improve public transit in their neighborhoods.
State Senator Gustavo Rivera said, "My constituents in the Bronx depend on mass transit to get to and from work each and every day. It is clear that Bronxites understand that if they are paying a higher fare, they should be receiving better service. Our transportation town hall meeting was a success, not only because we worked to identify transit issues in the Bronx, but more importantly, because our discussion revolved around identifying potential solutions. I look forward to working with community leaders and transit riders to improve service in the Bronx and will continue to push for better funding for the MTA at the state-level."
"New Yorkers are fed up with being asked to pay more for less when it comes to public transit" said Paul Steely White, Executive Director of Transportation Alternatives. "Thankfully, transit riders have a champion in State Senator Gustavo Rivera. Last night's town hall was a clarion call for better service. New Yorkers know what needs to be done to achieve this goal. It's time more elected officials listened like Senator Rivera is doing."
The top transit improvements discussed were the need for expanded Select Bus Service, particularly along the Grand Concourse, and additional buses on the Bx1, Bx2 and Bx10 during morning and afternoon rush hour.
In the last six months, four different elected officials from across New York City worked with the MTA to improve and increase service in their communities. Council Member Brad Landers' work on the B61, State Senator Daniel Squadron's efforts to improve the L Train and State Senator Jeff Klein and Council Member James Vacca's collaboration to extend the Bx24's route led to service improvements. The genesis for these improvements was bus and subway riders speaking out about the need for better service; then elected officials stood up as champions for their constituents.
State Senator Rivera took to the Senate Floor last week to call out Albany for failing to fully invest in public transit. Rivera criticized the State Legislature for swiping hundreds of millions in dedicated transit funding, while condemning transit riders to another fare hike next year, which would be the fourth since 2007.
While bus ridership declines across the city, Select Bus Service on the Bx12 along Fordham Road has led to a ridership increase, in part because of faster service. SBS has also been a huge success on Manhattan's East Side where its installation on First and Second avenues improved bus speeds by 20 percent.
The New York State's elected officials hold the purse strings to transit funding and thus have a significant impact on subway and bus service. When transit riders are hit with another fare hike in 2013, it will be the fourth such hike since 2007--all as a result of inadequate State and City funding. New Yorkers are saddled with the highest fare burden in the nation, and Albany's scheme to finance the MTA Capital Plan, which makes necessary station and track repairs, with massive debt will only increase pressure to raise the fare. Transit riders need their elected representatives to develop new funding solutions to keep fares affordable and service reliable for the supermajority of working New Yorkers who rely on public transit.
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