I’m Grace, I work at Home Depot and I use public transit to travel to Hempstead Bay in Long Island from Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn. Before the pandemic, the trip to get to work took me roughly three hours, two trains and a bus. By sticking to the bus and subway, I would get transfers and keep my fare affordable. Although the Long Island Rail Road is a much faster and affordable option, the cost would be too expensive for me since the fare is nearly three times the regular bus and subway fare.
For years I’ve had the opening shift at Home Depot, and leave my house at 3:00 am to get to work by 5:30 am. It’s a long and arduous trip that became even more cumbersome at the beginning of the pandemic when Governor Cuomo decided to end overnight service from 1:00 am to 5:00 am.
This decision has cost me extra hours and money to get to work. Since the overnight closures, I’ve had to take a $25 cab to get me from Sheepshead Bay to Atlantic Terminal to then pay for the Long Island Railroad to then pay for a bus in Long Island.
This has added unnecessary cost to my commute, forcing me to pay three different fares to get to work. The other option would’ve been to take nearly five buses to get around and wait 30 minutes between buses in the street late at night. It has become a nightmare throughout the pandemic. We need the Governor and Federal Government to provide overnight and reliable service, and provide cheaper and integrated fare options for people like me who can’t afford costly rail to get to and from work.
“Transit Stories” is a series of real-life experiences with public transit in the U.S. Every Tuesday, we will feature the first-hand experience of public transit riders from across the country in this short newsletter. From large cities to small towns, we will document the experiences of the millions of users of busses, trains, ferries, and other forms of public transit in the US. Public transit is essential to our communities, to cooling the planet, to advancing equity. Transit is essential to our very lives.
This year there is a unique opportunity for the country to make a historic investment in public transit funding to help the country build back better. This story and all the others will be archived at transitjustice.org. For media inquiries, contact Doug Gordon, firstname.lastname@example.org.