Riders Alliance contest features ‘Worst Commute of the Week’
Transit advocacy group fighting for subway repair funding
Subway riders, take heart. You now have the chance to win a prize for enduring that nightmarish commute on the R train.
On the heels of a protest rally in Albany designed to bring attention to the need for more state funding to pay for subway repairs, the transit advocacy group Riders Alliance has come up with another way to get its point across to elected officials.
On Thursday, the Riders Alliance announced that it will sponsor a weekly competition inviting straphangers to describe their hellish commutes on the New York City transit system.
The “Worst Commute of the Week” contest even has a prize — a chocolate MetroCard.
To enter, visit the Riders Alliance page on Facebook, by tag @RidersNY on Twitter, or visit the website ridersny.org/worstcommute, use the hashtag #WorstCommute and write in 100 words or less about a bad trip on the subway or bus. Entries must be submitted by midnight on Fridays. The winners will be announced every Monday.
The Riders Alliance will keep the contest going until Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Legislature pass a long-term plan to fund a major fixup of the transit system, according to leaders of the group.
“Yet again this morning, hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers had what could well be the worst commute of the week,” said Danny Pearlstein, director of Policy and Communications for the Riders Alliance. “Gov. Cuomo’s subway system suffered signal problems on eight lines, sick passengers on three and mechanical problems on three more, grinding service to a halt across the city. As a small consolation, the Riders Alliance will reward New Yorkers with a chocolate MetroCard for the worst commute of the week until the governor enacts a sustainable, progressive long-term plan to fund the modernization of the subway.”
Riders Alliance Campaign Manager Rebecca Bailin said the stories of commuters will get the point across about the need for action.
“New Yorkers know all too well: delays and crowding are a constant feature of our daily commutes. That’s why Riders Alliance members went to Albany this week to demand that Gov. Cuomo and our elected leaders pass a budget that will fix and fund our transit system. Now, Gov. Cuomo and our state legislators need to hear from you,” Bailin said in a statement.
The Riders Alliance took its case directly to state lawmakers by holding a rally in Albany this week.
Wearing green T-shirts and carrying signs reading “Fix the Subway” and “Fund Public Transit,” the protesters gathered on the steps outside the New York State Assembly Chamber and demanded that Cuomo and the state Legislature provide long-term funding to address problems with subway and bus service.
A preliminary version of the state budget recently released by Cuomo did not contain long-term funding to fix New York’s ailing buses and subways.
Protesters cited long waits for subway trains, signal problems, train breakdowns and slow bus service as being among the most pressing issues plaguing riders.
The protesters found allies among Brooklyn lawmakers.
“The subway system is in crisis,” Assemblymember Robert Carroll (D-Park Slope) stated.
Assemblymember Nicole Malliotakis (R-C-Bay Ridge-Staten Island) said the transit system has a sorry record that includes 70,000 delays a month. “It is long past time that the city and state come together to identify a reliable revenue stream so the MTA can make improvements to its outdated signal system and infrastructure,” she told the protesters.
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