On Thursday, TriMet and the agency’s Board of Directors acknowledged the hard work that OPAL and Bus Riders Unite! has put into our analysis of extended transfers and the effects this might have on transit riders who depend on single ticket fares. They repeatedly referenced and commended BRU members on the amount of civic engagement we have shown in trying to improve our transit system. We haven’t exactly been making it easy for them to ignore us though: in addition to showing up at board meetings to testify, as we did on Thursday morning with 15 testimonies given by BRU and OPAL, we have been sitting down with individual TriMet board members to discuss CFT, we have been writing op-ed pieces and press releases for local newspapers and we have been strengthening our transit justice coalition with other community organizations. You might even have seen OPAL’s Executive Director Jon Ostar on a recent KOIN 6 report. TriMet stated again that they will provide detailed analysis to the board at the end of June as to the financial impact of extending transfer times.
The testimony given at this week’s TriMet board meeting really portrayed just how transit justice affects us all and is directly tied to the health of a city. Comments today ranged from that of personal stories by transit dependent community members, to those who sometimes have the option to drive but are trying to make the environmentally-conscious decision not to. We heard how the best part of their public transit experience to some people is the bus drivers themselves and how a fair system will also respect its employees. We heard from bus operators who want to provide the best service possible but are stuck operating over-crowded buses and making late arrivals due to service cuts. The CFT is about finding new ways to approach old problems. Instead of making riders shoulder the burden of increased fairs and decreased service, let’s find solutions that encourage the use of our transit system. When you restore service and value, you restore faith in the system and grow ridership. When you help people meet their basic needs, you help create healthy cities.
OPAL and BRU members look forward to working with TriMet to analyze the issue in June and recommending a full implementation of three hour transfers and unlimited after 7pm.
First Saturday Organizing: 11am – 3pm at the OPAL office, 2407 SE 49th