Advocates Urge New York State to Pay Their Share Too!

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!

A big “thank you” to everyone who came out today!
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My FARE Increase

If YOU could decide, what would you want YOUR additonal 25¢ to go to? 

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Stephanie Sapiie, Professor

That is the question the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union has been asking Nassau bus riders.
On September 1st, Nassau County and NICE Bus will be imposing a 25¢ fare increase on cash paying customers as one solution to help fill NICE Bus’ $3.3 million budget shortfall. Does anyone else smell a bailout? Nassau County and NICE Bus have also agreed to chip in, but do not be fooled by this gesture – the buses have needed more money since 2012 and Nassau has not delivered! To top it all off, with little to no public notice, Veolia (NICE Bus operator) held two virtually INACCESSIBLE public hearings with barely any riders’ present. Without any public support, a fare increase was approved, and Nassau County and NICE bus have decided that bus riders should be the ones to pick up the tab and bail them out.
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Mary Frances, Nassau Community College Student

This (un)fare increase comes with no improvements to bus service, yet riders are expected to pay, and for what?!
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Anonymous Rider, Mother of Three

As a response, the Long Island Bus Riders’ Union launched the “My FAIR Increase” Campaigndemanding that Nassau County and NICE Bus give bus riders a public thank you for bailing them out! Aaron and Kimberly will be visiting bus terminals and bus stops until September 2nd to speak with riders about what they want their 25¢ to pay for (see the pictures). We will deliver these demands to NICE Bus on September 2nd, the day after the implementation of the fare increase, where we will demonstrate outside of the NICE Headquarters (700 Commercial Avenue, Garden City) at 6:30PM. We will also visit Nassau County officials on September 8th at their legislative meeting (1550 Franklin Avenue, Mineola) at 1PM (see flyer below for details).

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Simja Bezalel, Medicaid Service Coordinator for the Disabled

Please join us on September 2nd and the 8th as we tell Nassau County and NICE Bus that if they want our money then they need to listen to US, the riders!
Aaron Watkins-Lopez
Organiser
Long Island Bus Riders’ Union

And don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter!

BRU September Actions

 

New LI JWJ Report Shows High Number of Voter Engagement for Bus Riders

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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:

Bus Riders Vote: A report on Voter Engagement for Nassau County Bus Riders

*** 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.

Huge Victory for Bus Riders!

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Late this evening, the Suffolk County Legislature unanimously passed the Sunday bus service bill! This is a huge victory for bus riders and will not only create more service for people who rely on public transportation, but will also be a boost to our local economy. For those of you who have union members who ride buses, or for our brothers and sisters at TWU Local 252 who drive the buses, this is a huge victory for our labor movement. The passage of the bill is the result of the work of many organizations, but we specifically need to acknowledge the hard work of our partner, Tri-State Transportation Campaign for their smart advocacy on this issue, and Legislator Jay Schneiderman for relentlessly advocating for Sunday bus service for years.
Not only did the bill pass through the legislature, but it passed unanimously. Suffolk County legislators understand the need to support working people on Long Island, and we couldn’t be more happy. We will continue our advocacy work in Suffolk County for serviceexpansions and increased state funding, but we want to take a moment and celebrate this important victory.