Fed up with rising fares and poor subway service, members of the Riders Alliance and the Straphangers Campaign wrote a letter to Gov. Andrew Cuomo inviting him to take a ride on the 7 line during the morning rush hour.
The purpose of this ride-along, the transit advocacy groups said, would be to give the governor a firsthand look at the city’s public transit system and get him to agree to fully fund the MTA’s five-year capital program, which currently faces a $15 billion shortfall.
“It defies comprehension that Gov. Cuomo hasn’t taken up the issue of funding for our subways and buses,” said Nick Sifuentes, deputy director of the Riders Alliance. “The only reason we can think of is that he doesn’t have to deal with the dreadful rush hour commutes that average New Yorkers face every day.”
According to a report by City Comptroller Scott Stringer comparing commute times in 29 major American cities, New Yorkers have the worst commute in the country. Additionally, report by the New York Post provides MTA data that shows delays have increased in recent years.
“New Yorkers are paying more for less and they hate that,” said Gene Russianoff, senior attorney for the Straphangers Campaign.
If the MTA’s five-year capital program, which pays for new subway cars, buses, commuter rail trains, modern signals, track and station upgrades, as well as supporting expansions like the Second Avenue Subway, does not get fully funded, commuters will feel the consequences with more fare hikes.
State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office has reported that for every $1 billion that the MTA must borrow for its capital plan with no new revenue sources, it could be forced to raise fares an additional 1 percent.
“New Yorkers are fed up with fare hikes, bad service, and overcrowded trains — we’ve been hearing from frustrated riders for months,” Sifuentes said. “It’s about time the governor does too.”
The letter specifically asks Cuomo to join riders “on the 7 train, which is over capacity daily and which was recently stuck in a tunnel after yet another equipment failure during the morning rush.” It also asks him to ride other problem-plagued lines such as the C train in Brooklyn.
Public transit supporters will hold a rally on Tuesday, May 5, at noon on the steps of City Hall to call for greater investment by the city in its subway and bus system.