Posts Tagged ‘Transit Riders Union’

Vote Yes for Buses – But We Can’t Stop There

Wednesday, October 1st, 2014

By Katie Wilson

In the November general election, Seattle voters will have one last chance to save our Metro system. Seattle Transportation Benefit District Proposition 1, if passed, will raise approximately $45 million per year to preserve most bus service in the city of Seattle and on some intercity routes by means of a 0.1% sales tax increase and a $60 vehicle license fee.

The Transit Riders Union urges you to vote YES on Proposition 1. Thousands of Seattle and King County residents depend on Metro buses every day, and we cannot afford to lose our service.

Climate change is accelerating, and our planet can’t afford more cars on the road.

At the same time, this is not a permanent solution. The proposed measure pushes the burden of funding public transit further onto working and poor people, leaves transit riders in the lurch throughout the rest of King County, and contributes to the fragmentation of what should be a unified regional mass transit system.

Even if the ballot measure passes in November, public transit in Seattle and King County will remain woefully underfunded. Fares are too high, service is not frequent or extensive enough, drivers’ schedules have been tightened to the point where they don’t have time to use the bathroom.

The Transit Riders Union is therefore calling upon the Seattle City Council to approve, in addition, two more progressive funding options for public transit: an Employee Hours Tax on business and a Commercial Parking Fee increase. This funding may be used to:

  • Reverse the September 2014 service cuts or restore comparable service for those whose mobility has been reduced by the first round of cuts
  • Contribute to the chronically underfunded Human Services Ticket Program
  • Contribute to a buy-down of Metro’s new Low Income Reduced Fare from $1.50 to $1.00 or $1.25, as would have happened had King County’s Proposition 1 passed in April
  • Roll back fare increases, making public transit more affordable and attractive for all
  • Fix the schedules to improve drivers’ working conditions
  • Increase, improve and modernize Night Owl Service
  • Add new service

Please join us in the fight for affordable and reliable public transit for all!

Katie Wilson is General Secretary of the Transit Rider’s Union and a PSARA member.

Moving Forward on a Low Income Fare

Monday, July 1st, 2013

By Katie Wilson 

Here’s a huge thank you to the many PSARA members who provided petition signatures in support of a low income reduced fare! The Transit Riders Union(TRU) has collected over a thousand signatures and we’re still counting. An impressive number of the petition sheets are pages pulled out of The Retiree Advocate.

For the past six months I’ve been sitting on the King County Low Income Fare Options Advisory Committee. On July 1st we sent our final recommendations to the County Council. These recommendations include: that a low income fare program be created; that anyone with an income below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level be eligible; and that Metro should provide the lowest fare possible that will also allow the program to be sustainable. Our recommendations could have been stronger on some points, but overall they are a good and solid foundation – and now TRU and our allies have to pressure the County Council to act on them!

The greatest obstacle is funding: Metro faces the prospect of 17% service cuts next year unless new transit funding is approved. Where is the money for a low income fare program going to come from? We hope a dedicated funding source can be found. In the meantime, TRU will be campaigning to save our bus service!

With bus fares projected to go up again next year (that’s the fifth time since 2008!), we want to let the County Council know that public transit must be affordable for those of us with low incomes. We can’t wait long.

On Monday, July 22, Transit Riders Union members and allies will present our petition for a low income fare program to the County Council at their full council meeting, starting at 1:30 pm on the 10th floor of the King County Courthouse. PSARA members are invited to join us at this event! Please help us pack the council chambers. Let’s show our elected representatives that they have a strong public mandate to move forward and implement a low income fare.

Katie Wilson is the Chair of the Transit Riders Union & a PSARA member 

Low Income Transit Fare

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

By Katie Wilson 

Please sign the petition on Page 6 of this issue of The Retiree Advocate, get your family, neighbors and friends to sign it and then mail it to the PSARA office.

King County Metro bus fares have gone up four times since the Great Recession started in 2008. Public transit is becoming less and less affordable right when working and poor people are struggling to get by, losing jobs, precariously employed, or living on fixed incomes. Meanwhile the cost of food, gas and rent keeps rising.

When residents have to plan our days to save on bus fares, it makes it hard to get to work, appointments and job interviews, and to care for aging or disabled friends and relatives. Public transit is a public good that benefits everyone: when people can’t afford to get around, all of us suffer.

The Transit Riders Union (TRU) is campaigning for a low income reduced fare and PSARA is supporting this effort. In December 2012, a coalition of organizations, led by the Transit Riders Union, delivered a letter to the King County Council signed by 28 organizations including PSARA, supporting a strong low income fare program. We met with King County Council Chair Larry Gossett who expressed support for our effort.

The King County Council created a Low Income Options Advisory Committee to study the issue and make recommendations. The author of this article, representing the Transit Riders Union, is a member of that committee. The TRU and the Low Income Transit Fare Coalition is working to make sure the recommendations of the Advisory Committee are as good as possible. We are also working to identify a funding source to subsidize the low income fare.

Ultimately it will be the King County Council that decides whether to act. That’s why the Transit Riders Union is asking all transit riders and supporters of a low income fare to sign the petition to be delivered to the Council on July 1. On that date, the Advisory Committee will submit its recommendations. We need to show our elected representatives that we care about keeping public transit affordable for everyone.

Katie Wilson is General Secretary of the Transit Riders Union and a PSARA member