Transportation (News)

Transit Case Raises Question: Can the Poor Ever Find Justice?

Submitted by News Desk on Wed, 03/09/2011 - 2:44pm

A recent decision handed down by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals raises this important question: Can victims of contemporary forms of discrimination and disparity find justice in our courts?

The court ruling came in the case of Sylvia Darensburg, an African-American mother of three who lives in East Oakland. Every day, along with tens of thousands of low-income African-American, Asian and Latino bus riders in the Bay Area, Sylvia experiences the reality of transit inequality.

According to the case, Darensburg v. Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Sylvia relies on the AC Transit bus system as her primary means of transportation to her job during the day and to college classes at night. She endures long waits for the two buses she needs to take, with each trip taking an hour or more each way. On her way home at night, she has to walk 12 blocks from the nearest bus stop in her neighborhood.

Sylvia is not alone in making such an arduous journey—almost 80 percent of AC Transit riders are people of color, and over 70 percent have incomes below $30,000. Nearly 60 percent are entirely dependent on public transit.

In 2005, a group of law firms and nonprofit legal advocacy groups—claiming state and federal civil rights violations—filed suit in federal court in the hopes of getting Sylvia Darensburg and others like her equal access to quality transit services.

MTC to consider plan to give Oakland, San Jose extra votes

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 01/27/2011 - 11:15am

A proposed power shift that would give Oakland and San Jose each an extra vote on the Bay Area's powerful regional transportation commission is headed for a key vote Wednesday amid reservations by Contra Costa County members.

The Metropolitan Transportation Commission -- a nine-county transportation funding and planning body -- will consider whether to seek state legislation expanding its panel from 16 to 18 voting members so that Oakland and San Jose mayors can each pick a representative.

Bay Area News Group-East Bay Dec. 6 Letters to the editor

Submitted by News Desk on Fri, 12/10/2010 - 10:40am

Not Drivers' Fault

THIS IS regarding the Nov. 24 editorial, "AC Transit gets relief, but cuts still likely misses the mark:"

AC Transit's financial woes are not primarily due to drivers' salaries. (In fact, a regional and national comparison done in September of transit wages by MTC puts AC's toward the bottom of the spectrum.)

AC's deficit is mainly due to discriminatory funding decisions at the regional, state and federal levels, which prioritize highway expansion and costly rail expansion at the expense of operating bus service. And, as pointed out, the drawn-out recession doesn't help AC either.

Oakland AC Transit riders rally against service cuts, call on elected officials to step up

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 11/18/2010 - 1:54pm

AC transit rally Nov 9AC Transit riders rallied against service cuts in downtown Oakland on Nov. 9 as agency officials announced an agreement in an ongoing labor dispute with bus drivers.

The decision halted planned December service cuts, that would have brought service to its lowest levels in 30 years, but there will likely be future service reductions.

In the past year, the agency has hiked fares and slashed service twice, as the agency was “hemorrhaging” towards fiscal insolvency. Meanwhile, bus riders have been paying more money for less transit service.

Riders, who launched a “Stop the Cuts” campaign, held “Rest in Peace” gravestones with the names of former bus lines and routes that were to be cut next month. Some signed a testimonial board, sharing that they would no longer be able to get to school, work, the grocery store, or to other services if there were more cuts.

Nearly 150 riders and supporters attended the rally, which grew as time progressed. Many said they arrived later due to crowded or late buses.

City Council Agenda: Housing Element Task Force, Sewer Connection Incentives

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 11/18/2010 - 1:43pm

Housing Element

For Tuesday's City Council meeting, city staff will provide an update on the task force putting together an update of the city's housing plan.

According to a staff report, a public draft of the updated housing element could be available by February 2011.

With the Urban Habitat settlement, Pleasanton must put together a housing document, which provides an outline for the regional requirements for affordable housing in the city.

Some AC Transit Service Restored, But Funding Problems Could Return

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 11/18/2010 - 1:33pm

Mashasin Abdul Salaam, left, of Genesis, looks on as a coalition member is interviewed by KRON.

AC Transit riders took solace in the news on Tuesday that the agency plans to restore service that was cut twice this year after a labor arbitrator settled a contract dispute. Transit advocates worry, however, about the agency’s long-term solvency and have called on elected officials to develop significant revenue measures for funding buses in the East Bay.

The arbitration panel in the AC Transit labor negotiation reached a decision on a contract between the transit district and Amalgamated Transit Union Local 192, which represents 1,750 of its bus drivers and mechanics, saving the agency $38 million over three years. The binding decision calls for increased contributions from the members to their health and benefit plans, as well as work rule and holiday changes.

AC Transit had cut service in March by 7.8 percent, or $10.3 million in service hours and in October by 7.2 percent, or $11.4 million in service hours. Fare increases this year amounted to an increase of 25 cents per trip for local riders and $10 for the price of a monthly pass. Transbay riders have been paying an increase of 50 cents per trip and $16.50 for a monthly pass. Youth, senior and disabled riders saw a hike of 15 cents per local trip and 30 cents for Transbay trips.

AC Transit, union reach contract agreement

Submitted by News Desk on Thu, 11/18/2010 - 1:18pm


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