Group Hopes Subway 'Horror Stories' Will Scare Up Funds
Straphangers are familiar with nightmare commutes, especially as delays and ridership in the system surge, and now one advocacy group has compiled a few hundred of them in a book dedicated to Governor Cuomo. NY1's Jose Martinez filed the following report.
Stuffed trains, a surge in delays, rats running wild and rising fares. It's all detailed in "Subway Horror Stories," a new book from the Riders Alliance that's dedicated to Governor Andrew Cuoo - who the group says is shortchanging the MTA as it looks for $14 billion in funding.
"If our governor, Governor Cuomo, doesn't come up with a plan, a reliable plan to fill in that funding gap, then we the riders are going to be the ones to have to pay for that. And just with that, our horror stories will only keep on coming," said Brina Zumba of the Riders Alliance.
On Sunday, members of the the group gathered outside Cuomo's Midtown office to read from the hundreds of rider horror stories they spent months compiling.
"The rats in this subway station are so horrible that sometimes you can't even walk up and down the steps because the rats are on the steps to the platform," said one subway rider.
"The platform was dangerously crowded with angry people. And the confusion was just ridiculous," said another subway rider.
The group staged the reading as Cuomo and legislative leaders look to fund a five-year, $32 billion plan that pays for new subway cars, track maintenance and expands capacity in a system that's being strained by record ridership.
"Unfortunately, we live a horror story every single day taking public transit in New York City," said Jess Nizar of the Riders Alliance.
It's hardly the first time that advocates have turned to theatrics to make their point about the MTA's funding needs to the governor. In recent months. they've challenged Cuomo to ride a crowded C train during the rush hour, and also unveiled something called the CuomoCard.
The governor's press office panned that oversized dig at the governor as bad performance art, but didn't respond to requests for comment about Sunday's stunt, leaving the advocates to to read amongst themselves in hopes that someone was listening.
"There's a lot of problems in the state regarding funding, but the more and more we delay solving the problem, what's going to happen is riders are going to pay in the form of fare hikes," Nizar noted.
The next increase is scheduled for 2017.