January 21, 2015
By Mark Henry, President and Business Agent ATU 1056 and
John Lyons, President/ Business Agent, ATU 1179
Fully funding the MTA Capital Plan matters less than correctly funding needed projects. The plan inadequately supports Queens bus service. As labor leaders whose members service Queens residents, businesses and institutions, we remind those who support full funding for the MTA capital plan “as-is” to advocate the plan meets the needs of bus riders.
ATU emphasizes investing in infrastructure to keep our buses running, rebuild and enhance bus service and deliver the best service possible.
Smartly investing in bus service realizes improvements and growth sooner than mega-projects including the '7' Line extension to Javits or LIRR east side access. The current infrastructure falls woefully short; many Queens neighborhoods served by members of our locals receive inadequate transit service.
Queens lacks the buses to meet existing and planned service. The current Queens bus fleet includes many deteriorated, old and inefficient buses that operate beyond their useful life and often disrupts service. That's why we championed better bus transit at City Council and Assembly hearings.
Buses offers vital links for seniors, young people, people with disabilities, and people without cars. Public bus transit is the only way many can reach work, shop, go to the doctor, attend worship services, visit family members, and other things that enrich their lives.
Besides more buses, we seek progress and funding for Far Rockaway Depot repairs, the new Jamaica Depot, 165st Street Bus Terminal modernization and a downtown Flushing bus.
ATU will continue to advocate for public bus transit and urges all do so.
*ATU Local 1056 represents drivers and mechanics who work for MTA NYC Transit's Queens Bus Division and ATU Local 1179 represents bus operators, mechanics and supervisors who work from the Far Rockaway and JFK Depots of the MTA Bus division (formerly Green Bus). John Lyons is also Chair, ATU Legislative Conference Board.