Councilmen propose subway bill of rights

December 18, 2007 11:25:54 AM PST
New York City Councilmen Bill de Blasio and John Liu joined the Straphangers Campaign and the Working Families Party Tuesday to propose a Bill of Rights for all of New York City's subway riders. The Bill of Rights, being introduced a day before the MTA Board meets to vote on anticipated fare increases, would clearly delineate the basic rights that New York City subway riders expect.

The Subway Riders' Bill of Rights include:

  • Regular, on-time service provided on trains
  • Platforms that are kept safe and clean
  • Working public address systems in all stations
  • Immediate and real-time notification of service changes
  • Advisories with accurate information on alternative means of transportation in situations where service is interrupted
  • "It is unacceptable to the New Yorkers who ride our subways every day that these basic levels of service are not already provided," de Blasio said. "If the MTA sees fit to stuff riders' stockings with higher fares this holiday season, they should also agree to give those riders the gift that is actually on everyone's wish list: decent mass transit service."

    Liu and de Blasio have sent a letter to the MTA urging them to adopt the Subway Riders' Bill of Rights as their policy.

    The letter requests that the Bill of Rights become MTA policy and be posted in every train and in every station, just as in every taxi cab there is a clearly posted copy of the Taxi Riders' Bill of Rights.

    "New York's commuters demand better transit service, and we need to give it to them if we are to encourage more people to take mass transit," Liu said. "This Bill of Rights is an important part of a critical effort to get more people to take mass transit."

    As the MTA prepares to force riders to pay more for the same level of service they already receive, the 15 rider report cards released by the agency this year gave an average grade of C- to the subway lines.

    "The proposed rate hike advocated for by Governor Spitzer and Mayor Bloomberg places the burden of supporting a deficient MTA squarely on the backs of working families," said Dan Cantor, Executive Director of the Working Families Party. "While subway conditions continue to deteriorate, the working men and women of New York City are expected to pay even more. A Subway Riders' Bill of Rights would ensure a more equitable relationship between the MTA and riders."

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