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Grass-Roots Transit Organization Launching Monday in NYC

By Zachary Stieber
Epoch Times Staff
Created: November 18, 2012 Last Updated: November 21, 2012
Related articles: United States » New York City
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Subway riders exit the 6 train at the 77 Street station on the Upper East Side, New York, in this file photo. (Amal Chen/The Epoch Times)

Subway riders exit the 6 train at the 77 Street station on the Upper East Side, New York, in this file photo. (Amal Chen/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—A new transit organization, formed to bring neighborhoods together to advocate for local subway, bus, and other improvements, is officially launching Monday.

The Riders Alliance is different from other organizations because its goal is focusing on issues unique to each neighborhood, according to John Raskin, 31, executive director of the alliance and former chief of staff to state Sen. Daniel Squadron.

“Our method of trying to win better transit is to strengthen the voice of the actual transit riders themselves,” he said.

The alliance has already launched two campaigns. One has riders along the G line pushing the MTA for free out-of-system transfers (when the rider has to leave the station and walk above-ground to another, unconnected station) to the J/M at Broadway and the Atlantic Pacific hub of nine lines from the Fulton Street G station. They also want more trains to run and for some exits that have been shuttered for decades to reopen.

The other campaign is in south Brooklyn along Fourth Avenue in Bay Ridge, where they are seeking more R train service and better bus service, including the restoration of the B37 bus.

So far “we’ve had a great response,” said Raskin. The alliance is also working on citywide issues such as the pending fare hikes and what should be included in the next capital plan.

Now, after about six months of work behind the scenes—setting up the organization and recruiting the first set of members—the official launch is set for Monday.

“This launch event is the first time that we’re coming together publicly to celebrate the work that we’re doing, and mark the beginning of what’s going to be a long campaign,” said Raskin.

Find the alliance at Bubble Lounge, 228 West Broadway, two blocks south of Canal Street, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The event is free for members and $50 for nonmembers. RSVP here.

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