[New York\Transportation]
Riders Alliance Campaign Manager Stephanie Burgos-Veras: “Mayor de Blasio promised riders 25% faster buses. Now he needs to deliver for two million daily riders citywide.”
Photo: Danny Pearlstein (Riders Alliance)

Riders, advocates, and elected officials fed up with slow bus service snapped photos of New York commuters demanding priority for buses on city streets in every New York neighborhood.

Advocates later convened at City Hall to demand the mayor announce a plan to achieve 25% faster bus service citywide by the end of 2020.

Grassroots organizers and advocates from the Riders Alliance, Transportation Alternatives, NYPIRG Straphangers Campaign, TransitCenter, Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Welcome to the Bronx, Democratic Socialists of America, and New York League of Conservation Voters, Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce were joined outside City Hall by New York City Council Members including Transportation Committee Chair Ydanis Rodriguez, Donovan Richards, Antonio Reynoso, Rafael Espinal, Mark Levine, Brad Lander, Stephen Levin, and Ben Kallos.

Assembled riders, advocates, and elected officials sought to build on the success of the 14th Street Busway with a citywide busway and bus lane photo petition demanding that the lessons of 14th Street be implemented in low-income communities and bus-dependent areas. Advocates argued that a rapid, robust expansion of bus priority is necessary for Mayor de Blasio to keep his April 2019 Better Buses Action Plan promise to speed up buses across the city by 25% by the end of 2020.

“Mayor de Blasio promised riders 25% faster buses. Now he needs to deliver for two million daily riders citywide,” said Riders Alliance Campaign Manager Stephanie Burgos-Veras. “14th Street proves the City can achieve its goal by putting New Yorkers first on City streets. With low-income communities and communities of color especially dependent on bus service, buses aren’t just a way to get around. The bus can be an engine of opportunity if the mayor makes it his progressive priority.”

“The single most important thing we can do to win better bus service for New Yorkers across the five boroughs is to create dedicated space on the streets. We know, based on what we’re seeing on 14th Street, that when you limit general traffic, buses move more efficiently and win back riders,” said Transportation Alternatives Senior Organizer Erwin Figueroa.

“Congestion is killing Flushing. Without major intervention to improve our transportation system, the heart of NYC’s small business community will stop beating,” stated John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce. “All New Yorkers deserve equal access to jobs and economic opportunity — whether we live and work in an immigrant neighborhood or not. Our community demands a busway on Main Street!”

“As we lead the fight against climate change, push for zero deaths on our streets from traffic violence, and demand transit equity everywhere, New York City needs to dramatically expand busways and bus lanes to all five boroughs so the millions of New Yorkers who take the bus can benefit from better quality public transportation. It’s time for New York City to treat bus riders with the dignity we deserve,” said Zeke Luger, member of the Straphangers Campaign.

“Transit deserts in parts of Queens desperately need reliable bus service that get people from neighborhood to neighborhood without a headache,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides, District 22. “Getting New Yorkers out of cars and onto buses will help reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and take a bite out of the unprecedented congestion in our City. We must prioritize bus service in 2020, as we’ve already seen the success in 2019 of focusing on this transit mode.”

One of, if not my biggest priority as the state representative from the North Shore of Staten Island is to bring affordable and accessible public transportation to my district. That’s why I remain committed to working with the MTA to implement a North Shore Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), deter any suspension of route service and assure that public modes of transportation are safe, environmentally clean and easier to access. As we are witnessing the economic development renaissance of the North Shore, a key component is expanding public transportation for residents, visitors and the workforce leaving and entering Staten Island,” said Assemblyman Charles D. Fall.

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