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MTA NYCTRC Testimony-Faster Subways and Buses and Safer Transit Workers are Good For Riders

Good morning, I am Lisa Daglian, Executive Director of the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC). There has been a lot of transit news lately, most of it great for riders: faster subways on the 2, 3, 4 and 5; better buses in the Bronx thanks to the redesign; and more protection for transit workers, with new legislation being signed today that will keep this critical workforce safer — and that’s good for all of us. In addition, the Mayor and MTA recently held their first Transit Improvement Summit, with the intention of improving subways and buses for riders – and we couldn’t be happier.

This groundbreaking partnership will improve travel experiences for millions of New Yorkers who rely on buses, the engines of equity, with 150 more miles of bus lanes and busways over the next four years; expansion of automated enforcement and TSP; and the installation of 50 additional fixed bus lane cameras; with the MTA matching this commitment by expanding the ABLE program.

We’ll also see more countdown clocks at subway stations; stormwater resiliency investments; and collaboration to expand initiatives such as Freedom Ticket and CityTicket for Metro-North and LIRR riders, and the city’s Fair Fare program – contributing to a more equitable system.

Riders also need a safe system. We’re glad that the MTA and city plan to build upon their partnership in the Subway Safety Plan to address quality-of-life issues. However, last week’s Supreme Court ruling to reverse conceal carry laws left us quite alarmed. After the spate of recent shootings, riders have made it clear that they would not feel safer or comfortable with people more easily bringing guns into the transit system. The state, city, and MTA should continue to ban guns in the system and continue to fight against ghost guns and other illegal weapons in transit. We’re encouraged that the Governor, Mayor, legislature, and council are poised to pass laws emphasizing this ban and urge them to designate the entire transit system as a “sensitive place.”

Under the strong leadership of Janno Lieber, Rich Davey, Eric Adams, and Ydanis Rodriguez, we are hopeful despite the challenges. We will join you in this fight to keep all riders safe, and provide reliable, equitable and efficient service across our city and MTA region.

Thank you!