TWU Still Backs Bill Perkins After He Leaves 125th Street Riders in the Lurch

State Senator Bill Perkins successfully pressured DOT into shrinking its plan for Select Bus Service on 125th Street in Harlem. Now that the city is moving ahead with a shorter bus lane, it looks like Perkins still might not pay any political price for sticking more than 32,000 daily bus riders with a slow ride.

Bill Perkins' opposition to better bus service "won’t impact our support," TWU says. Photo: ## Senate##

The Transport Workers Union Local 100 has a long history of donating to Bill Perkins’ campaigns, dating back to his days on the City Council, giving $1,000 to the candidate in both 1997 and 2001.

After serving on the City Council, Perkins was elected to the State Senate in 2006, and reelected in 2010. In 2006, Local 100 contributed $2,000 to Friends of Bill Perkins. The union’s campaign contributions increased in 2010, with three contributions totaling $4,750.

When Streetsblog asked TWU Local 100 President John Samuelsen about Select Bus Service in 2010, he supported the program. “Local 100’s in favor of better service for our New York City transit riders, and of course we’re in favor if more people start riding the buses, that’s more jobs for Local 100 members,” he said.

Local 100 spokesperson Jim Gannon echoed that sentiment on the phone with Streetsblog today. “The union’s position on Select Bus Service is that it’s a good thing, because it speeds buses and encourages bus ridership,” he said.

Perkins is up for reelection next year. Will his opposition to robust 125th Street SBS affect TWU’s support? “TWU does think that Select Bus Service is a good thing, but just because he opposes a portion of it, that won’t impact our support moving forward,” Gannon said.

So, after failing to come through for his bus-riding constituents, Perkins should still expect a check in the mail from TWU next year.

  • Anonymous

    Their money says that they think slow buses are good for the union. If buses were more efficient, we might not need as many.

  • HC Taylor

    Does the TWU have the same interest as transit riders? If yes, then why is TWU giving Perkins anything? What has Perkins done to support public transit? What is Perkins doing for TWU that warrants their support?

  • KRN

    Exactly. Slow buses=more buses to run the same service=more drivers paying union dues. Ever seen a bus driver drive really slowly towards a traffic light, almost like they’re hoping that it will turn yellow so they can stop? That’s the TWU at work.

  • JK

    I’d like to know if TWU Local 100 simply asked Bill Perkins to support 125th St SBS. They are a powerful supporter, their just asking would matter. Also, did DOT or MTA ask TWU to ask Perkins for his support? Why not? Maybe for future SBS issues, Streetsblog can ask Local 100 if they’ve asked the politicians they finance to support SBS.

  • Daphna

    Thank you to Streetsblog for the continuing coverage of how New York State Senator Bill Perkins has harmed his constituents. This plan would have been good for everyone. It would have helped businesses by having loading zones. It would have helped businesses and customers by having metered parking so that there would be turnover and getting a curbside space for an errand would be possible. It would have helped motorists by lessening the backed-up traffic that results from turning vehicles and from double-parking. It would have saved tens of thousands of bus riders time daily – not just those on the M60, but also those on three other crosstown buses, the M100, M101, Bx15 who all could use the dedicated off-set bus lane. It would have helped pedestrians with daylighting, turning restrictions, turning bays (which take pressure off a driver from behind and let the driver better yield to pedestrians), and with sidewalk extensions on two avenues and a mid-block crossing added. This would have been a win win for everyone involved.

    Bill Perkins did not reach out to his constituents when calling his “Emergency Town Hall Meeting”. He did not post a single flier of this meeting at a bus stop. He did not notify any of the large apartment buildings in the area, either through their co-op boards, management companies or landlords. He selectively got the notice out of his “Emergency Town Hall Meeting” to people who like him were afraid of change. Bill Perkins has done a massive disservice to his community by forcing the DOT to cut in half the Select Bus Service plan for 125th Street.

  • Considering I’m in the PSC I want tio be like “solidarity” *brofist* with TWU… but they never come out batting for anything that might help the greater cause of transit… it’s like they don’t even know what that is!

  • Anonymous

    Since fares do contribute a material amount to the transit budget, I would think the union would want to see higher revenues. And if I’m recalling past Streetsblog articles correctly, the SBS routes are the only ones seeing increased ridership.

  • Daphna

    You are right. Select Bus Service routes show ridership gains up to 15% while other bus routes continue to experience declining ridership. People like Select Bus Service. While imperfect and no where near as good as real Bus Rapid Transit, the dedicated bus lanes and other features of SBS do speed trips by 20% and those bus lines are popular.

    It is such a shame that NY State Senator Bill Perkins organized against this amenity for his constituents. He is supposed to advocate for bringing benefits to his constituents, and should not be advocating to deny them an improvement and to send the funds designated for Harlem to be spent elsewhere instead.

  • Anonymous

    No, TWU is a self centered, self interest group that doesn’t care about anything or anyone outside of their own.


Who Killed 125th Street SBS: A Timeline

Throughout the development of the 125th Street Select Bus Service project, local elected officials and community boards never came out in support of actual bus improvements. Instead, they cloaked their opposition in concerns about “process.” Following yesterday’s announcement from the MTA and NYC DOT that they will no longer pursue Select Bus Service on 125th Street, now is […]