Over the weekend, the New York Times published a feature on the city’s crumbling subway system, chronicling the decades of mismanagement and politics that have hobbled the subway and the MTA.
And coincidentally, on Monday morning, the transit advocacy group Riders Alliance channeled commuters’ frustration over the failing transit system into a new campaign that’s meant to send a strong message to Governor Andrew Cuomo to bring comprehensive fixes to the subway.
Following a press conference in the morning, members of the Riders Alliance began handing out packets of cards called “Subway Delay Action Kits,” to commuters at Grand Central Terminal. The card briefly outlines the problems with the subway, asks riders to sign a petition addressed to Governor Cuomo to fix the subway, and to tweet at Cuomo when they’re stuck on a train or delayed because of the subway.
The Riders Alliance had printed out 200 of these “Subway Delay Action Kits” on Monday, and plans to print thousands more in the coming days.
Lauren Houston, a Riders Alliance member described her frustrating commute just this morning at Monday’s press conference, when she was delayed taking the subway from Church Avenue in Brooklyn. “I get on the subway every morning not knowing if or when I’ll get to work,” she said.
The Riders Alliance hopes that Cuomo will begin the 2018 legislative session by presenting a comprehensive plan to fix and modernize the subway, whether it be through congestion pricing or a millionaires tax, and to make the subway more accessible to all.
UPDATE 11/21/17: MTA spokesperson Shams Tarek issued the following statement to Curbed:
It’s unfortunate that some advocates are spreading misinformation about how the subways are funded and how they can be fixed. The fact is that a comprehensive emergency plan to stabilize and modernize the subway system is underway, both the city and the state have been asked to pay equally towards it, and so far the governor has stepped up but the mayor has refused. We also need a comprehensive solution like congestion pricing to reduce automobile traffic, get buses moving faster, and help fund the subways, and City Hall has refused to support that, too – we look forward to a change of heart.
The MTA’s $836M action plan has already started to produce results, according to the agency. Weekday delays are down 10 percent since the summer, major signal incidents are down 22 percent since the first half of the year, and debris-related track fires are also down 20 percent compared to the first half of the year.