Our Issues

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on New York City transit. Low ridership and decreased tax revenue have led the MTA into the worst fiscal crisis in the agency’s history. Sign up here to get critical updates and join our efforts to save mass transit.

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The Straphangers Campaign fights for safe, reliable, and affordable New York City mass transit, offers critical information to the public, and empowers riders to join the movement to:

  • Fight Back Against COVID’s Impact on New York City’s Transit
  • Reimagine New York City’s Buses
  • Get New York’s Subways Back on Track
  • Improve Transit Accessibility

Fighting Back Against COVID’s Impact on New York City’s Transit

Low ridership and decreased tax revenue have led the MTA into the worst fiscal crisis in the agency’s history. The current gap in funding totals more than $12 billion over the next four years. Without critical funding, the impact of this giant budget gap will be devastating for riders. Changes to transit could include:
  • Massive service cuts that lead to long waits and crowded buses and trains
  • Inordinate fare hikes
  • Greater MTA debt which will lead to more expensive service in the future
What’s more, low ridership has led to more cars on our streets, worsening the quality of bus and paratransit service and making our roads more dangerous and less walkable altogether.
For New York City to recover from COVID-19, Congress must act. As part of a nationwide coalition, the Straphangers Campaign is fighting to win federal funding to save transit and secure the fate of New York City.

Reimagining New York City’s Buses

New York City’s bus system is far and away the largest in the country, providing more trips on an average weekday than Los Angeles, Chicago, and Philadelphia combined. The City also has the slowest buses in America – a fact that bus riders here know from bitter daily experience. The buses are so slow, in fact, that the Straphangers Campaign gives annual "Pokey" awards for excellence in slowness and unreliability.
The Straphangers Campaign has partnered with a group of transit-oriented organizations dedicated to improving local bus service city-wide to form the New York City Bus Turnaround Coalition. The Coalition is urging the MTA and New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) to adopt solutions to slow and unreliable bus service, and keep its promises for expanded dedicated bus lanes.

Getting New York’s Subways Back on Track

New York City’s subway system needs an upgrade. Aging infrastructure and outdated technology – including signals put in place in the 1930s, and many outdated subway cars, some of which were built in the early 1960s – are in many ways directly responsible for the biggest issues plaguing our subway system. In recent years, riders have suffered from frequent breakdowns and increased delays The subway system has suffered from both financial divestment and political neglect, and for years was starved for critical funding to pay for repairs and upgrades.
The root of the many issues plaguing the subway is the outdated signaling system – modernizing this system is key to providing better subway service. Signals that use computer-based technology will not only allow subways to run more quickly and reliably, but it will enable the MTA to operate more trains per hour across subway lines. Installing this new technology will mean better, faster, safer, and less crowded trips for subway riders each day.
The 2020-2024 MTA Capital Program is ambitious and requires an unprecedented level of funding for its promises to become reality. The Straphangers Campaign is fighting to ensure that these funds become a reality by winning the enactment of Congestion Pricing and by advocating to win additional revenue to ensure the success of this program.

Improving Transit Accessibility

Access-A-Ride Reform
Access-A-Ride, the MTA’s paratransit program required by the federal Americans with Disabilities Act, is notorious for offering a poor level of service to its riders. While it is a critically needed service, Access-A-Ride is plagued by long wait times, high unreliability, poor communications with its customers, and many missed appointments. The thousands of New Yorkers who depend on Access-A-Ride service deserve quick and reliable transportation options to connect them with their jobs, homes, schools, and other resources. The Straphangers Campaign is continuing to push the MTA towards adopting new methods of providing Access-A-Ride service that works for riders.

Subway Accessibility
New York City Transit is responsible for one of the largest subway systems in the world, but its system is by far the least accessible out of every major American city. Out of 472 subway stations, only 117 (around 24%) are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). As stations across the system undergo maintenance and receive upgrades funded by the Capital Plan, the Straphangers Campaign is urging the MTA to actively seek ways to upgrade stations with elevators to increase the number of accessible stations, as well as conduct proper maintenance and repairs for elevators already in use.

In the News
Judge Puts the Brakes on New Flushing Busway  (Jackson Heights News, November 16, 2020)
Judge halts Flushing Main Street busway launch until further review  (AM New York, November 15, 2020)
Finish the job! Transit advocates rally in Queens for bus lane completion  (AM New York, October 22, 2020)
Finally, a Subway Map With Real-Time Train Locations and Delays  (The New York Times, October 21, 2020)
DOT Hopes South Bronx Bus Service Will Speed Up With New Dedicated Lanes, Camera Enforcement  (Gothamist, October 11, 2020)
As City Reopens, De Blasio’s ‘Better Buses’ Plan Stuck in Traffic  (Gotham Gazette, September 11, 2020)
Fare hikes, service cuts on horizon for MTA unless federal funding comes through  (Amsterdam News, September 10, 2020)
MTA Will Issue $50 Fines To Riders Who Don't Comply With Mask-Wearing Rules  (Gothamist, September 10, 2020)
Surface Transportation Council Members Break Ranks To Demand COVID Recovery Plan  (Streetsblog, September 2, 2020)
Mayor de Blasio slammed by members of his own transportation advisory panel  (NY Daily News, September 2, 2020)
Community Dialogues: Straphangers Campaign  (WFUV, August 28, 2020)
A Round and a Roundy: The MTA’s ‘Parade of Horribles’  (A Round and a Roundy: The MTA’s ‘Parade of Horribles’ Streetsblog, July 23, 2020)
New York City Is Getting 20 Miles Of Bus Lanes & Car-Free Busways  (Clean Technica, July 2, 2020)
Subway and Bus $65M 'Fair Fares' Reduction Deals Latest Blow to Transit System  (The City, July 1, 2020)
'At the edge of an abyss': Transit advocates plead with Schumer to get MTA financial aid   (Bronx Times, June 30, 2020)
The Budget Pain: Mayor's Fair Fares Cut Falls Heavily on Lower-Income Transit Riders  (Streetsblog, June 30, 2020)
Transit advocates plead with Schumer to get MTA financial aid   (QNS.com, June 29, 2020)
New Yorkers prepare to venture into subways again   (CNBC, June 8, 2020)
De Blasio announces 20 miles of new bus service for coronavirus reopening  (New York Post, June 8, 2020)
Mayor Creates More Busways — And Makes 14th Street Permanently Car-Free  (Streetsblog, June 8, 2020)
Reports & Features
Testimony at Joint Legislative Hearing on Impact of COVID-19 on the MTA  (August 25, 2020)
NYPIRG Announces Gene Russianoff Retires  (July 24, 2020)
Statement on Resignation of Andy Byford  (January 23, 2020)
Decade's Top Ten Best and Worst of NYC Transit  (December 17, 2019)
Statement on Changes to MTA Access-A-Ride Pilot Program   (November 12, 2019)
Testimony at MTA 9/25 Board Meeting on Access-A-Ride E-Hail Pilot Program  (September 25, 2019)
Statement on the MTA's Draft 2020-2024 Capital Plan  (September 16, 2019)
2019 Pokey and Schleppie Awards  (July 2019)
"Taking Up Space": A student's experience with transit accessibility  (Trevor Wheeler, Pratt Institute, Spring 2019)
Statement on Governor Cuomo's Canarsie Tunnel Rehabilitation Plan  (January 3, 2019)
2018 Top Ten Best and Worst in Transit for NYC  (December 27, 2018)
2018 Pokey and Schleppie Awards  (July 2018)
Transportation and Equity: A Vision for New York State Leadership in 2018  (July 2018 (pdf))
Congestion Pricing Coalition Statement on Governor's 30-Day Amendments  (February 16, 2018)
Transportation and Equity: A 2017 Agenda for Candidates  (July 2017 (pdf))
Statement on Newly Appointed MTA Chair/CEO Joseph Lhota  (June 22, 2017)
Statement on MTA Management Restructuring Plan  (May 15, 2017)
Statement on Governor's Plan to Cut $65 Million in Promised Funds to the MTA  (February 21, 2017)
State of the Subways Report Card 2016  (December 2016 (pdf))
Top Ten Best and Worst Events for Subways and Buses in 2016  (December 2016 (pdf))