So I was checking out the E-Zine, and one particular article caught my eye. The Q100 bus? Isn’t that the one that goes to Rikers? I check out the article, and I’m right (it also says so in the title but shhh). I knew this because my co-worker has an office in Rikers, and he takes the Q100 to get there. Other youth advocates at my organization also take the bus, so I have a few thoughts.
Firstly, it is not an easy place to get to. If you live in Queens, close to Astoria, then good for you, it’s not a bad distance. But if you’re in Brooklyn or god forbid New Jersey, then you can say goodbye to your entire day. From Brooklyn, you’d need to travel through the city on the N train, before getting off in Astroia, where you can take the Q100 up there. Or you could take the Q101 outside the Rikers bridge, where you still have to take the Q100. Either way, you’re forced to make at the very least two transfers. If you’re from Staten Island, have fun taking the ferry up to downtown Manhattan, where you’ll have to take the R before transferring to the N. From Brooklyn or the Bronx it’s likely at a minimum two hours one way, while from Staten Island will set you back three.
If you are one of the lucky ones to have a car in New York City, then congrats! You can drive up to the Rikers parking lot, where you will quickly find that there is no parking. Good luck with that. And even if you do manage to snag a spot, you’re still a bridge away, so you still have to take a certain bus. Can you guess which one? If you’re wealthy enough to own a car in this city, you’d statistically probably be able to post bail. Poverty and crime are correlated, so for most people visiting their loved ones will take an entire day, so hopefully your job is caring enough to let you take the day off.
This speaks to how the correctional officers want to make prisoners are miserable as possible. It’s bad enough that they’re at Rikers, which is one step above hell on Earth. They have to make people jump through barriers and hoops for their families and friends to visit, and for what purpose? Why can’t there be a shuttle bus service from different areas that can take people into the facility. Why does the MTA of all organization have to shoulder that burden? For as much money that goes towards the NYPD, which ranks 33rd in spending out of all countries’ MILITARIES, how much can it realistically cost to make it easier to get to.
My co-workers, who are just trying to make kids’ lives better, are forced to travel two to three hours a day just to make it over there. Why is this okay? Maybe since Rikers is being shut down they don’t care, but I do. Let’s do better.