Elected officials embark on two-day transit troubles tour
Some city politicians take an all-day ride on the subway to highlight the system's problems. Transit Reporter Jose Martinez filed the following report:
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz's subway adventure did not begin smoothy.
The Bronx Democrat flubbed his first Metrocard swipe and needed a second to enter the system.
But Dinowitz and his riding partner, Manhattan City Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, immediately succeeded on at least one count: They attracted a throng of cameras - and generated dozens of social media posts chronicling the beginning of their two-day fact-finding escapade.
"We want to hear from inidividual people, not just from officials of the MTA or elected officials," Dinowitz said.
The rolling photo op was billed as a chance for the two officials to hear firsthand about the subway's breakdowns and delays - problems pretty obvious to anyone who rides regularly.
"A lot needs to change. The service isn't that great. I mean, we have one of the best transit systems in the world, but honestly, there are a lot of delays, a lot of overcrowding," said one straphanger.
"I take too long to get to work. Especially on Sundays," another said.
Rodriguez and Dinowitz began their "Riders Respond Transit Tour" on Thursday morning at 242d Street and Van Cortlandt Park in the Bronx. They made their way to lower Manhattan and headed back to the Bronx, before turning around and ending up in Midtown -- with other politicians making cameos at various points along he way.
They found a captive audience of riders eager to share stories of woe.
"For somebody to tell you that you're running late, you know you're running late," one woman said with disgust.
But they also encountered plenty of skepticism.
"Well, they don't experience it how we experience it. So it's not like the same thing - if they would ride it every day going to work back and forth, then they could say they experience it as a regular human being going to work," said one rider.
"I say this: They should ride the subway a lot more often so they can see how the other half lives," another said.
They planned another subway field trip on Friday, to Queens and Brooklyn.
And after the 'Riders Respond' tour wraps up Friday evening at the Union Square station, the City Council on Tuesday will hold an oversight hearing on the MTA's summer woes.