End funding discrimination in public transit

Submitted by Reporter on Wed, 11/30/2005 - 10:00pm

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

Submitted by Reporter on Wed, 11/30/2005 - 10:00pm
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.
emailaddress: 
begelko@sfchronicle.com

Pages

Subscribe to Reimagine! RSS