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