This morning Long Island Jobs with Justice and the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union were joined by Tri-State Transportation Campaign, Vision Long Island, TWU 252, Nassau Inter-County Express (NICE) and other transportation advocates in a call for New York State to increase it’s contribution to non-MTA transit systems all across the state, especially on Long Island. Non-MTA transit systems, both up-and-down state, will once again see little or no additional state assistance if the proposed budget goes through; due to rising operations costs, pensions and healthcare Long Island buses cannot survive at the current state funding levels, we NEED more funding!
This week, Executive Director Anita Halasz and Organizer Aaron Watkins-Lopez rode the bus with Nassau County Legislators Siela Bynoe (LD2) and Laura Curran (LD5) through their districts to speak to riders and find out what the experience for daily bus users is. With the threat of upcoming service cuts due to a $3.3 million deficit, the support of county Legislators is amazing! #NICEneedsNassau
Bus Riders’ Union Releases Report Showing High Numbers of Voter Engagement for Nassau County Bus Riders
Mineola, NY—The Long Island Bus Riders’ Union released a report today entitled “Bus Riders Vote: A Report on Voter Engagement for Nassau County Bus Riders” showing that bus riders have high numbers of engagement in Nassau County. The report’s key findings showed that 55% of bus riders voted in the past two years, and that 58% plan to vote in the November 2013 elections. Additionally, the report showed that 69% of voting riders say that public transportation is a “very important” issue to them when voting in an election.
The research involved 284 in-person interviews with bus riders at Nassau County’s bus terminals, and had a margin of error of +/- 6%. The reports objectives were to “determine the number of Nassau County bus riders that are politically active and understand how important public transportation is in the voting habits of bus riders.”
The report follows months of advocacy on behalf of the Bus Riders’ Union to improve the bus system, including a recent push to fix erroneous Metrocard machines and increase the County’s funding to the buses.
“This report conclusively shows just how important public transportation is to voting bus riders, and we hope that elected officials will work with us to continue to improve our County’s bus system,” said Aaron Watkins-Lopez, an organizer with Long Island Jobs with Justice and a researcher on the report.
The report concludes with four recommendations for elected officials, asking them to:
- Take notice of service problems in their districts by attending Transit Advisory Committee meetings and keeping up-to-date with transit advocates’ recommendations, including calls to fix broken Metrocard machines.
- Regularly meet with disability rights organizations to understand problems unique to disabled bus riders.
- Ride the buses themselves after quarterly changes are implemented to gain an understanding of problems riders might be experiencing.
- Speak with bus riders at bus terminals to advocate not only for better bus service in their district, but for better bus service as a whole.
“The goal of this report is to showcase the importance of bus riders to Nassau County’s electoral system, and to gain traction for additional improvements to the bus system through the end of the year,” said Charlene Obernauer, founder of the Bus Riders’ Union and author of the report.
Find report online here:
*** The Long Island Bus Riders’ Union (LI BRU) is an organization of Long Island bus riders and public transit advocates that supports affordable, equitable, and accessible mass transportation. The Bus Riders’ Union originated with the Coalition to Save Long Island Bus and is a project of Long Island Jobs with Justice.
Bus Riders Union’ Releases Report Calling for Improved Service for People with Disabilities, Reduced Wait time for Buses, and a Fix to the N6
Mineola, NY—The Long Island Bus Riders’ Union released a report today that outlined changes that need to be made to the bus system, according to the bus riding public. The report comes from a public forum that the Union hosted in late February, where bus riders shared their experiences on the buses with legislators and the community at large.
Bus riders have had a variety of experiences, from being stuck on the lift of an Able-Ride bus for a half-hour to Nassau Community College buses overcrowding and threatening the safety of the riders. With experiences like these, on top of a $.25 cent fare hike for Metrocards and a 10% reduction in service hours from 2012-2013, bus riders were concerned.
As one bus rider and member of the Bus Riders’ Union, David O’Donnell said, “We pay among the highest taxes in the country, but our bus system has gotten worse and worse. We talk about low ridership. Why? It’s dysfunctional.”
The report concludes with four recommendations for better bus service in Nassau County:
- Improve service for people with disabilities by honoring pickup times, fixing audible and visual announcements on buses, and testing wheelchair lifts before they go out.
- Fix glitches with Metrocards, provide more places for riders to buy them, and allow for riders to pay cash on board.
- Reduce the 20 minute window for buses
- Fix the N6!
“The goal of this report is to share bus riders’ experience with legislators and the general public, who might not know what the bus service has been like for riders on a day to day basis. We hope that NICE Bus will work together with us to fix some of these problems, and ultimately look forward to an improved bus system,” said Charlene Obernauer, founder of the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union.