Bronx Transit Riders to Rally Today at Diaz Sr.’s Office

Communities United for Transportation Equity (COMMUTE) will hold a rally today at the office of Ruben Diaz, Sr., one of a handful of state senators whose opposition to bridge tolls threatens to sink the MTA rescue plan. Says COMMUTE:

Dozens of South Bronx residents and constituents of State Senator Rubén Díaz will rally outside his office to protest his opposition to the plan to save mass transit. They are calling on the Senator to act in the interest of his constituents and to support a plan that preserves existing transit service in his district and citywide by asking all sectors, including drivers, to pay.

Senator Díaz has publicly opposed the plan to save mass transit because it includes new $2.00 tolls on the Harlem and East River bridges, even though more than 60% of households in his district have no access to a car and are completely dependent on mass transit. Seniors and bus riders from his district who will suffer if a plan is not passed and transit cuts go into effect are protesting this stance, and calling on him to act in the interest of the truly most vulnerable.

The rally starts at 12:30 this afternoon at 1733 East 172nd Street

  • Susan Donovan

    I went, so thanks for posting this! There were a LOT of people there– The BX4 is a very important bus and no one wants to see it cut. People understand that tolls area fair way to fund transit. We had lots of signs and made a lot of noise. The Daily News showed up too we’ll see what they said.

    I’m so glad that people are speaking out about this. I’ll post more later.

  • Tri-State’s Kyle Wiswall was up in the Bronx for a meeting on the Sheridan, so he stuck around to cover this. Here’s the MTR piece:

    http://blog.tstc.org/2009/03/12/diaz-dont-betray-our-trust-our-people-ride-the-bus/

  • Thanks for posting that link Steven. Kyle Wiswall did a great job explianing the issues. The key point is most people in the Bronx don’t drive or have cars. We need good public transit and safer streets (with less traffic.)

  • fdr

    The Times City Room blog says there were 30 people. That doesn’t seem like enough to impress Diaz. One of his staff members said that many of their constituents take taxis and the tolls will be passed on to the passengers, that’s their answer to the argument that most people in the Bronx don’t drive.

    http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/12/protest-assails-diaz-for-opposing-bridge-tolls/#more-10901

  • Taxis! He’s so out of touch! Maybe Diaz takes a lot of taxis.

  • I think they meant car services. It’s true, but the original Ravitch proposal would have used the tolls to pay for expanded bus service that presumably would have made those car service trips less necessary. How many people in the Bronx use car services every day, anyway?

    Under last year’s congestion pricing proposal, it would have still been “free” to cross the Harlem River bridges, and car services wouldn’t have paid the congestion charge. Maybe Diaz wants to revisit his opposition to congestion pricing?

  • fdr

    Car services are probably the only taxis you can get in Diaz’s district. And depending on the time of day, or night, “expanded” bus service is still going to be less reliable than car service. Less expensive, but less reliable.

  • fdr, the car services charge at least $8 to Harlem and like $10 to Manhattan– who can afford that? The pricing is random and many of the pick-ups are illegal. I can see how in a pinch someone might use the cars… but wow, what a rip off.

    I guess with the M4 gone people will need to use the cars even more.

    In fact, I wonder if that’s the plan? It just sounds so awful, but what if Diaz wants to strand everyone so they will be at the mercy of car services? How can we find out who is donors are? I just can’t figure out WHY he wants to do this to Bronx residents… there has to be a logical reason… something “in it” for him.

  • How can we find out who is donors are? I just can’t figure out WHY he wants to do this to Bronx residents… there has to be a logical reason… something “in it” for him.

    http://www.elections.state.ny.us:8080/plsql_browser/getfiler2?filerid_in=A17528

    But my guess is that it’s not for something so petty as donations. I think Diaz really believes that the people who drive matter so much more than the ones who don’t – and he distrusts us as “transit radicals.”

    More than that, though, I think he’s playing power games. Remember that he threatened to back Skelos instead of Smith for majority leader. In exchange for Diaz’s backing, Smith was willing to agree not to bring a gay marriage bill to the floor – until the Pride Agenda found out and raised hell.

    I’m guessing that’s the way Diaz works: once he gets an issue he wants to influence, he refuses to back anyone else’s agenda until the supporters agree to do what he wants. Maybe right now he’s telling Paterson that he’ll go along with bridge tolls if a gay marriage bill doesn’t pass.

  • You may be right, Cap’n Transit. I wish he’d just look our for the people he’s supposed to be representing, you know?

  • I think he may believe he’s getting power to help his constituents with what they “really” need.

ALSO ON STREETSBLOG

Senator Diaz: Sticking It to Transit Riders and Proud of It

|
In this scene from last night’s State Senate vote on the MTA funding package, Fare Hike Four member Ruben Diaz, Sr. relishes his substantial influence over the final bill: Today I’m standing here proud to say to my constituents. I promise you, constituents of the 32nd senatorial district, no toll. That would be the asthma-plagued […]

Transit Riders to Diaz: Not In Our Name

|
Constituents picketed outside the office of Ruben Diaz, Sr. yesterday to urge the Bronx state senator to get behind the MTA rescue plan, which includes new tolls on East and Harlem River bridges. Though some 140,000 people in his district use transit every day, and are facing serious service cuts along with steep fare hikes, […]

Kruger, Espada, and Diaz Leave MTA Rescue on Life Support

|
The three city reps who nearly derailed the Democratic takeover of the State Senate have issued a joint statement declaring — transit riders be damned — they’re not going to support bridge tolls. Liz Benjamin at the Daily Politics has the story: The Three Amigos — Sens. Carl Kruger, Pedro Espada Jr. and Ruben Diaz […]

Kruger Challenger Igor Oberman Campaigns on Support for Transit

|
Igor Oberman hands out literature touting his support for transit and bridge tolls at the Kings Highway station this morning. Photo: Noah Kazis. The primaries are only four months away, and election season is starting to heat up in New York. All signs point to strong anti-incumbent sentiment among voters, with several entrenched legislators facing […]

Doomsday Transit Cuts, District by District

|
Barring a viable MTA rescue plan, the 140,000 transit riders in Ruben Diaz. Sr.’s district will lose the Bx4 and the Bx14 If you’re wondering how MTA doomsday service cuts will affect you, you can now look them up by state legislative district and ZIP code, thanks to new maps from the Regional Plan Association. […]

Senate Dems Denounce Bridge Tolls as Doomsday Draws Closer

|
Take it to the bank: 67 percent of households in Ruben Diaz, Sr.’s Bronx district are car-free. While the looming MTA doomsday scenario is desperate enough that Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver has put forward a proposal to charge drivers roughly the same as transit riders to cross East and Harlem River bridges, Democrats over in […]