Transportation News Items

End funding discrimination in public transit

Fifty years ago, Rosa Parks did not give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Ala. Public transportation, and more specifically buses, became the stage from which the civil-rights movement was launched. This act of courage is fresh in our minds due to the recent passing of Mrs. Parks. Viewed as a national hero, her body was placed in the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol -- the first woman ever accorded such a tribute.

The irony is that today, discrimination is alive and well in mass-transit bus service. In the Bay area, for instance, a federal civil-rights lawsuit is pending in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco, charging that the Bay Area's Metropolitan Transportation Commission -- which plans and allocates funding for the area's transit needs -- supports a "separate and unequal transit system" that discriminates against poor transit riders of color.

Getting on the bus is half the story

When Sylvia Darensburg started riding AC Transit buses from her East Oakland home a quarter-century ago, the fare was 50 cents and the routes linked her to other cities. Now, rides cost $1.50, routes have been shortened or abandoned, and more cuts are in the offing as the system faces shortfalls of $8 million to $10 million a year.

Photo Caption: Rush-hour riders gather at the AC Transit stop at Oakland's Broadway and 14th Street. A lawsuit claims discrimination against riders. Chronicle photo by Michael Macor

Meanwhile, Caltrain and BART and their suburbs-to-city commute lines get far higher public subsidies than AC Transit, the Bay Area's second largest bus system after San Francisco's Municipal Railway.

Pressure builds to save Muni

Widespread frustration with Muni service cuts and fare hikes – passionately expressed by the public on Friday at a San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency meeting that continues tomorrow (Tuesday, March 2, starting at noon in City Hall Room 400) – has prompted a surprisingly diverse backlash.



The Metropolitan Transportation Commission is inviting Santa Clara County residents to share their ideas for the Bay Area's transportation system at a public workshop May 8.

Working in conjunction with other regional agencies MTC is updating its long-range transportation plan for the commission's nine-county area. Called "Transportation 2035: Change in Motion," the plan is charged with taking into consideration the region's growth, mobility and sustainability, coupled with global warming concerns.

Bill would add fee on Bay Area gasoline to fund climate efforts

CALIFORNIA – A bill that would impose an additional gas fee in the Bay Area and Los Angeles made its way through the Capitol this month, receiving near unanimous approval in Senate committees.

The fuel surcharges bill jointly authored by Assemblyman Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael, and Assemblyman Mike Feuer, D-Los Angeles, was introduced in February as a way to raise funds for climate change mitigation projects in the two regions and so far has had a successful run.