Riders Alliance aims to turn frustrated straphangers into activists
The grassroots transit advocacy group released Subway Delay Action Kits to encourage New Yorkers to make their voices heard.
Just about every New Yorker has been there, stranded on a subway platform or train with their anger mounting at yet another delay. Now, Riders Alliance is encouraging those straphangers to make their frustrated voices heard all the way to Albany.
The grassroots transit advocacy group on Monday began distributing thousands of its Subway Delay Action Kits to show New Yorkers how they, too, can become transit activists.
The kits urge straphangers to use #CuomosMTA and #FixTheSubway when they are stuck on a train or in a station and to tag Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who controls the aged and beleaguered MTA, in their tweets.
Riders Alliance also asks riders to visit CuomosMTA.com to request a kit of their own and sign a petition asking the governor to “fix our crumbling subways.”
The petition asks Cuomo to restore reliable service, increase capacity, improve communication with riders and find and pass a “fair and sustainable funding source” ahead of the 2018 legislative session.
The Subway Delay Action Kit release comes on the heels of last week’s MTA report that showed subway delays have tripled since 2012. In September, the most recent month for data, there were more than 58,000 weekday delays. The monthly average five years ago was about 20,000.
“A poorly timed subway delay can throw my entire day into a tailspin,” said Riders Alliance member Lauren Houston of Flatbush. “But now, when we’re stuck on the subway, we can put our extra time to good use by organizing our fellow riders to take their complaints right to Gov. Cuomo. … I plan to distribute these kits to hundreds of subway riders, and I hope everyone will use these instructions to channel their anger into action and accountability.”
Murali Chigurapati of Washington Heights joined Riders Alliance after his daughter just missed the A train that derailed in June.
“That’s when I decided to become an activist. It’s too much,” she said. “Gov. Cuomo needs to listen to all of us who are stuck on the subway and come up with a real plan to fix the MTA. Our lives depend on it.”
In a statement issued by spokesman Shams Tarek, the MTA said, "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.”