With almost 9 million people traveling throughout New York City during the day, an efficient and equitable transportation system is vital to the success of our city. But it is more than simply getting from one place to another. Access to all forms of transportation is a basic right.
Every New Yorker should feel confident about getting to their first day at a new school or a new job on time. Every New Yorker should feel pride in our transportation system, but that is not the case because New York City’s transportation system is failing us on all levels. From the mounting challenges with the MTA to the lack of capital funding available to fix our roads and bridges, transportation reform must be front and center.
New York subways used to be something to brag about to the world. But now, some train lines are late or face delays 40% of the time. I know I cannot afford to be late almost half the time. Parents picking up or dropping their children off at school also can’t afford to be late almost half the time either.
It’s not just train delays. The less money you earn, the longer your average commute. Train lines and stations in the outer boroughs – districts like mine in the Bronx – face service delays at a higher rate. This is unacceptable.
Without a good, reliable, and affordable public transportation system, far too many New Yorkers waste precious time in transit. From missed appointments to lost work hours, there is a clear and negative economic impact from an inefficient transportation system.
The MTA is not the only culprit. Our roads and bridges also are in dire need of both repairs and new measures to safeguard New Yorkers. Safely getting from one place to another; whether it be by car, train, taxi, bike or ferry, is a basic right that must be ensured.
As Public Advocate, I will:
Demand a Seat on the MTA Board:
I will fight to give the Public Advocate a permanent seat on the MTA board. Once there, I will advocate for the needs of busy New Yorkers trying to live their daily lives. I will pursue immediate fixes to train and bus delays, reject unnecessary and costly construction proposals, and fight fare increases for the sub-par service we are seeing today. I will work to improve inadequate service and identify underserved areas for transit investment.
Make Fair Fares Available as Single Rides:
Fair Fare MetroCards should be available to all New Yorkers who need them, not just those who can afford weekly or monthly passes. About 300,000 New Yorkers struggling to pay the rent and buy food can’t afford these money-saving passes. Instead they are forced to pay as they go and spending too much of their income to get to work.
Improving Transit Equity
While rebuilding and revitalizing our transportation system is important, if our system is not accessible to all New Yorkers, then it does not matter if the train runs on time or traffic congestion is alleviated. We must ensure that all New Yorkers are able to get where they are going in a safe and timely manner.
Women spend more money and time commuting around NYC than men, which is why I will fight to make it safer for people - especially women and children - to get where they need to go on our public transit system by adding security cameras and boosting the number of MTA workers at train stations.
More than 40% of our seniors live in areas that don’t have enough public transportation. We need to make it easier for our seniors to get around by making our bus system more accommodating and expanding Access-A-Ride service. Only one out of every three bus stops have shelters and benches, which is unacceptable in a world-class city. I will push for the City to build more benches and shelters.
Getting around New York with a disability is scary and often times challenging. I will work to meet the public transportation needs of those with disabilities. In the meantime, we must push for more accessibility across the board: from increasing the number of accessible taxi cabs to expanding Access-A-Ride service and ensuring that they are dependable and on-time. With the expansion of the ferry service, we must also ensure that our differently-abled New Yorkers are able to enjoy the ferry as well.