April 22, 2015
By Mark Henry, President/ Business Agent for ATU Local 1056*, and
Bennie Caughman, President/ Business Agent, ATU No. 1179*
Support (and use) public bus transit; it helps save our environment!
As we observe Earth Day 2015, we remind policymakers and decision-makers to include public bus transit options and strengthen existing bus capabilities to improve our environment. It remains important to recognize how public bus transit enhances our environment and reduces our carbon footprint while supporting our economy and investment.
After Sandy, New Yorkers experienced how ATU Locals 1056 and 1179 memberships and sister transit unions stepped up and helped New Yorkers get about on public buses while the MTA worked to resume subway service. Our members also provide service during periodic subway shutdowns to allow repairs; it demonstrates how buses matter both as a practical and flexible transit mode. Buses offer a cost-effective means to expand public transit options, including sensible bus rapid transit, where none or insufficient modes exist.
ATU emphasizes rebuilding and enhancing bus service – as we did as 2015 began– and investing in infrastructure to keep our buses running. This includes progress on a Jamaica Depot, bolstering Casey Stengel Depot against flooding risks, Far Rockaway Depot repairs, 165st Street Bus Terminal modernization and developing a downtown Flushing bus terminal.
Public transportation remains key to economic growth. For that same rationale, ATU champions a better bus replacement schedule and more new buses, modernized bus terminals and the new Jamaica depot. The MTA must better use its buses to serve intra-borough needs rather than just funneling riders to subways and rail.
Support (and use) public bus transit; it helps save our environment.
*ATU Local 1056 represents drivers and mechanics who work for MTA New York City Transit's Queens Bus Division and ATU 1179 represents bus operators, mechanics and supervisors who work from the Far Rockaway and JFK Depots of the MTA Bus division (former Green Bus lines). Mark Henry is also ATU New York State Legislative Conference Board.