New Yorkers Could Face Fourth Fare Hike Since 2007
April 26, 2012
Michael Murphy 646-873-6008
At the New York City Transit Riders Council Bus Forum last night, Transportation Alternatives' Rider Rebellion Campaign Manager Brodie Enoch, delivered the following remarks on the need for increased investment in public transit:
Thank you for the opportunity to testify today. My name is Brodie Enoch and I am the Rider Rebellion Campaign Manager at Transportation Alternatives. The Rider Rebellion unites New Yorkers from across the city in support of affordable fares and reliable service. Our goal is to educate, empower and mobilize transit riders to demand greater transparency and accountability from our elected officials about how decisions they make affect the day-to-day conditions on our transit system. We've held six transit town hall events across the city, and from Soundview to Jamaica, transit riders are fed up with paying more for less.
Bus riders in particular are still grappling with the devastating 2010 bus service cuts. Not only did riders lose 32 bus routes and 570 bus stops, they saw service reductions during weeknights and weekends on lines spared the chopping block. Subway ridership is at record highs, but bus ridership continues to decline. There is a simple explanation for this phenomenon. When our state government in Albany shortchanges the MTA, it's bus riders who bear the burden of the service cuts.
Albany's theft of dedicated transit funding, their gutting of the payroll mobility tax and their continued failure to find stable sources of revenue for the MTA has resulted in:
• A proposed fare hike in January 2013 -- the fourth since 2007 -- without any improvement in service
• A capital plan that is paid for by unsustainable borrowing and debt--the largest in MTA history
• Debt service that consumes more and more of the operating budget, taking reliable service and affordable fares away from riders
• An eroding fiscal foundation for the public transit system that is the engine of the city and state's economy
New York's governor sets our state's transportation and transit priorities and with the legislature, devises its funding plan. The New York City Transit Riders Council must bring state leaders to the table to make Governor Cuomo's promise to restore transit funding a lasting one and solve our funding crisis.
In recent years, state and city elected officials, the MTA, advocates and riders have had serious discussions about how to responsibly, equitably and sustainably invest in our transit system and have come up with many ideas including congestion pricing, East River Bridge tolls and the Ravitch Plan, just to name a few.
These are all workable solutions. What we need is responsible leadership to implement a solution.
Today, we call on you, Mr. Irick, to go to Albany to fight for bus riders and for the future of this city and state. We have a long-term vision for our transit system's infrastructure, yet we are in desperate need of increased investment. We need you to be an advocate for bus riders in Albany. We need you to stand with us and tell Albany that it's unfair to keep asking riders to pay more for less.
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Transportation Alternatives 127 West 26th Street, Suite 1002
New York, NY 10001
Phone: 212-629-8080 Fax: 212-629-8334