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Newswire: Bus Riders Call on TriMet Directors to Restore Bus Service, Repeal Fare Increase

Posted by on August 30th, 2010 at 8:46 am

Here’s the press release about Wednesday’s big rally from OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 29, 2010
Contact: Joseph Santos-Lyons (503) 512-0490
OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
joseph@opalpdx.org / www.opalpdx.org

Bus Riders Call on TriMet Directors to Restore Bus Service, Repeal Fare Increase

Portland, OR. Bus Riders call upon TriMet Directors to develop a plan to restore bus service and find alternatives to fare increases. Facing the 11th TriMet fare increase in 10 years, and the elimination of another 70,000 hours of basic bus service, Bus Riders organized by OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon will march and rally at Portland City Hall on Wednesday September 1st, from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Bus Riders Unite, a new OPAL leadership group, has called the demonstration to draw attention to the impact on transit dependent riders from low-income communities and communities of color, and to call for an affordable, reliable and accessible public transportation system for all in the Metro Portland region.

    WHO: Bus Riders Unite! A project of OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon.
    WHAT: Rally for the Bus
    WHEN: Wednesday September 1st, 4:00-6:00 PM
    WHERE: Portland City Hall 1221 SW 4th Ave (between Jefferson & Madison)
    WHY: Bus Riders call upon TriMet Directors to develop a plan to restore bus service and find alternatives to fare increases. For affordable, reliable bus service and a public transportation that meets our economic, environmental, livability and health goals.

Bus riders and community allies are increasingly concerned with the decay of TriMet’s bus service, and the fare increase of 70% over the last 10 years. Transit dependent riders seek a respected voice in TriMet decision-making, and call upon TriMet to show leadership in preserving basic bus service for Metro Portland’s most vulnerable communities. Bus Riders Unite is also advocating at the state and federal level for change in transportation revenue for transit operations.

“I’m a home nurse and depend on TriMet to get to work, no matter the time of day or night, no matter the weather. With the service cuts, I have to leave 2 hours or more before my night shift starts” says Nancy Edmison, OPAL Bus Riders Unite Leader and Gresham neighborhood leader.

“TriMet fare increases push people off the bus and MAX, forcing poor people to purchase old polluting clunkers and worsening Portland’s public health crisis and indiscriminate emission of greenhouse gases. More pollutants means more childhood asthma, emphysema, cancer and long-term exacerbation of diabetes. More greenhouse gases means more global warming and catastrophic climate change” says Charles McGee II, Executive Director of Josiah Hill Clinic.

“Continuing to cut basic bus service hurts the most vulnerable in our community,” shares Monica Beemer, Executive Director of Sisters of the Road, “people who depend on transit including people experiencing homelessness, poor mental health, people with disabilities, and people living in extreme poverty.”

“To raise fares and to eliminate bus service doesn’t serve the needs of bus riders and our great city in the long run. We must address the possibility of making TriMet the best mass transit system in the country, one in which we can take pride” remarks Teresa Soto de Roman, OPAL Bus Riders Unite Leader and Powellhurst-Gilbert resident.

“Service cuts not only reduce the ability of transit dependent people to reliably get to work, but also reduces jobs as drivers and mechanics are laid-off. We have divested in transit, which is the most cost effective transportation investment in job creation,” said Jonathan Hunt, President of Amalgamated Transit Union Local 757 referencing the More Transit = More Jobs a report on transit and jobs that the Transportation Equity Network will release on September 2.

OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon is a community based organization working to engage, educate, and empower low-income communities and communities of color through direct action and grassroots organizing. OPAL co-chairs the Transportation Health Equity Network with the Coalition for a Livable Future, and is engaged in leadership development of communities most impacted by environmental, economic and health disparities.

Endorsed by Active Right of Way, Association of Oregon Rail and Transit Advocates, ATU Local 757, Center for Intercultural Organizing, Community Alliance of Tenants, Josiah Hill Clinic, Portland Jobs with Justice, Upstream Public Health, Oregon Tradeswomen, PCASC, Sisters of the Road, Urban League of Portland, VOZ Workers Rights

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Comments
  • Tom August 30, 2010 at 10:08 am

    And where will the money to stop the cuts come from? Please give us an alternative.

    They do not give a new revenue source or alternative cuts.

    As much as I don’t like the cuts, I don’t see a politically feasible way to avoid the cuts.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) August 30, 2010 at 10:12 am

    Tom,

    there are rarely “politically feasible ways” to do anything for the people who are most heavily impacted by loss of affordable public transit. that’s the problem.

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  • beth h August 30, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    What they don’t mention are the folks who will choose to hop on MAX without paying if they can no longer afford the fare. With fewer than 20 fare inspectors working for the entire system, there’s no way they can keep this from happening; and fare evasion will only grow.

    The other problem is that the people impacted by such losses — the poor — have the smallest voice and least amount of clout in our political system. So while I applaus the rally and the group’s efforts to call attention to this set of issues, what we really need a re for a few good rich folks to start making noise.

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