Sick of Failing Subways? Tell the Riders Alliance All About Your Nightmare Commutes

The worst horror stories will be shared with state legislators, many of whom haven't taken a subway or bus in years.

Subway riders waiting at a crowded train platform in January. Photo: Lorraine Cink/Twitter
Subway riders waiting at a crowded train platform in January. Photo: Lorraine Cink/Twitter

Maybe you were stuck in between stations one stop from home for 25 minutes at the end of a long day. Maybe you had to make multiple unplanned transfers to get to your job on the weekend. Or maybe you waited an hour for a bus that never came.

We’ve all been there. Unless you’re a state legislator with a parking placard, in which case, who knows how long it’s been since you’ve experienced a hellish transit trip.

But for most New Yorkers, the nightmare commute is getting to be more and more common as subway and bus service reaches appalling new lows. The Riders Alliance wants your help to turn things around.

You can share your stories and photos of transit trips gone wrong on social media using the hashtag #WorstCommute, or submit them at the Riders Alliance website, and the Riders Alliance will make sure Governor Cuomo and your representatives in Albany see how bad things have gotten.

Only in the last year has Cuomo acknowledged that core transit service is falling to pieces. It took a series of epic, systemwide failures — and a concerted campaign by advocates — to get the governor to pay attention to the collapse of the transit system happening on his watch.

Even now, Cuomo has provided no guarantees that he’ll push for congestion pricing this legislative session, and he appears to be as complacent as ever about the MTA’s difficulties implementing capital upgrades.

Nor have many legislators come to terms with the urgent need to improve subways and buses. Your state representatives don’t ride transit much. They’re shuttling back and forth between New York and Albany, and when they’re back home, they have free parking privileges to spare them the trouble of riding transit.

So while your miserable commute may make the collapse of the country’s largest transit system painfully obvious to you, odds are it’s not registering on a personal level with many Albany representatives. We need a conduit to viscerally convey the daily misery of the subways and buses to our elected officials.

Enter the Riders Alliance. Until Cuomo and the legislature pass “a plan to fund and fix the transit system,” they’ll be collecting transit horror stories. Submissions are due by midnight on Friday, and each week the person who submits the story judged to be the worst commute will win a chocolate MetroCard.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Compare the average age in the picture above with the average age in the state legislature. They just don’t care — federal, state, local if not for term limits.

    You want to make them nervous? Start taking about refusing to pay the MTA debts, and the rest of the debts.

  • Every once in a while I like to respond to one of your ugly rants, just to point out that the arrangement whereby the current generation pays for the retirement of previous generations is entirely appropriate. That’s how a civilisation works.

    Of course, I know in my heart that this is futile, because you possess a madman’s insistence; and so you will surely continue your steady output of anti-worker and ageist hate speech that spits in the eye of a generation of workers whose contribution to our society was nothing short of heroic. Still, it’s worth mentioning that those people set a good example; and, if subsequent generations have failed to follow that example, the blame for that rests with us.

  • Joe R.

    You’re defending a generation whose motto should be “I got mine. You can go to hell.”

    https://deadwildroses.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/objectivism-translated-ive-got-mine-you-can-go-to-hell/

    They’re the generation who coined the “greed is good” motto.

    Last I checked, people are at least partially responsible for their own retirement. That’s why I saved as much as I possibly could. The idea that the previous generation’s retirement is paid for by the current generation only works when the current generation isn’t bankrupted because the previous generation decided it deserved far richer retirement benefits than the generations which came before. In short, the system is now unsustainable. I’m perfectly fine with my generation and those which come after refusing to pay the debts left behind by the previous generation. These debts are paying for things we’ll never benefit from. I don’t see why then we should have to pay. If NYC or NYS ever raise taxes to a punitive level to start paying the debts of the previous generations, I’ll leave the state. Doubtless others will follow. One way or another the lavish retirement the last generation gave themselves on other people’s backs will be short-lived. I’m predicted when the mass exodus starts the negotiations will go something like this: “You had better take 50% of your pension to settle this matter today because tomorrow we’ll be opening the negotiations at 45%.”

  • These debts are paying for things we’ll never benefit from.

    Yeah, like old people. I mean, totally lame-o, right? They serve no purpose; so why should I pay for them?

    Egad, man. If the system is broken, then it’s this sort of depravity that broke it, the excessive and pathological individualism that fundamentally denies one’s obligations to society.

  • Joe R.

    What I meant by that was the younger generation is paying for a lavish retirement for the older generation while they themselves will never get a similar retirement. A great example of this is the Social Security system. The younger generation is paying far more into the system in adjusted dollars than their parents did, but will be drawing lower benefits. Ideally, all generations should pay a similar amount, and draw similar benefits. This is a sustainable system. That didn’t happen because the prior generation took more than it was entitled to and left the debt for others to pay. I don’t feel I should pay for someone else’s night on the town.

  • Larry Littlefield

    “That’s how a civilisation works.”

    Up until not long ago it worked differently. Each generation worked to build a better world for its children.

    Inequities that benefit the old at the expense of the young are justifyable as long as they are sustainable. As long as those now old were willing to do their part when young, and those now young can expect the same benefits while old.

    It is the creative solution of Generation Greed to scam that basically. The third round of tax cuts for the rich, set to expire as the last of Generation Greed retires, the decline of the infrastructure, and the screw the newbie, flee to Florida cycle on public employee pensions are all the same thing.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Basically, it is Generation Greed that asserted pathological individualism and broke its obligations to society. Donald Trump is THE Man of his generation.

    https://www.amazon.com/Looking-Out-Where-Want-Life/dp/1626360405

    Look everywhere you want and you’ll see the same thing.

    https://www.bostonglobe.com/ideas/2017/02/26/how-baby-boomers-destroyed-everything/lVB9eG5mATw3wxo6XmDZFL/story.html

    And ideology is just a cover up. Some benefitted from taking more out, others from putting less in. They point fingers in a circle.

  • qrt145

    There’s another factor at play, which is that the population pyramid looks very different now than it did in the 1960s and it will look even more different say 20-30 years from now. Having the young pay for the retirement of the previous generation is easy when the pyramid looks like a pyramid, since there are more young people than old. Not so much when it starts looking like a vase or a funnel.

    If the population pyramid gets inverted badly enough, what you get is essentially equivalent to a Ponzi scheme: the early “investors” merrily cash out while the latecomers getting nothing.

    I don’t think this necessarily reflects the morality of each generations, but rather a system that was created under unsustainable assumptions and which has refused to adapt.

  • Larry Littlefield

    That’s a problem in Europe and parts of East Asia more than here. Thanks to immigration, those working age in what had been the “Baby Bust” population are nearly as numerous as the Baby Boomers, and the children of the Boomers, the Millennials, are more numerous.

    The U.S has not a pyramid or vase or funnel, but a straight tube.

    The problem is revenues advanced, costs shifted forward, investments not made (except for IT) and organizations pillaged by those who controlled them in the public and private sectors.

    Generation Greed doesn’t pay to invest in mass transit it doesn’t want to use and won’t be around to benefit from. But it inherited huge investments by others.

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