by Fathi Karshie
Pierce Transit, a municipal transit agency that generates 73% of its budget from taxation, avoids acknowledging its institutional role and its place in the racist history of public transportation. The agency disproportionately fires Black employees, and its leaders despise any meaningful structural change that would otherwise help address anti-Blackness. Available data analyses are direct responses to legal compliance requirements as opposed to discovery intended to explore meaningful paths to structural reform. One HR person with whom I shared my concern remarked, “We are looking good, plus we just passed the triennial audit,” referring to Federal Transit audits that frisk for legal disparities once every three years. In other words, as long as they are within compliance, all is tolerable.
Continue reading OPINION | Pierce Transit Racial Equity Optics Is Not an Actual Plan to Combat Structural Racism
by Lizz Giordano
For Kris Colcock, a 20-minute appointment may take all day to complete — and several buses. Colcock, who is blind and lives on Bainbridge Island, relies mainly on public transportation to get around.
Continue reading A ‘Week Without Driving’ Is a Year-Round Experience for Some King County Residents
by Ashley Archibald
Micah L. moved to Seattle because, he said, it was one of the most accessible cities for blind people. He attended the University of Washington and received his bachelor’s degree this year in English and creative writing and moved to Lynnwood on Aug. 23. It’s a lot cheaper, he said over Zoom, but commuting is much more difficult.
“That’s the hard trade off we have to make as people with disabilities,” Micah said. “How much accessibility do we want, and can we actually afford that?”
Experiences like Micah’s populate a new report from the Disability Mobility Initiative, a project of Disability Rights Washington that highlights the needs of disabled Washingtonians who don’t drive.
Continue reading Transit and Sidewalks Need Improvement for Disabled Washingtonians, Report Says
by Carolyn Bick
King County Metro bus operator Sam Smith is worried about job security. Already, he said, Metro had to cut 200 part-time driver jobs in August, as a cost-saving measure, due to the economic fallout of the current novel coronavirus pandemic. In September, Metro reduced bus service by 15%. If Proposition 1 — which would continue a portion of public transit funding for the next five years — doesn’t pass, Smith thinks his job is likely on the chopping block. He also worries about the effect a lack of funding will have on the wider public.
“Cuts in transit right now are counter-productive. Routes that run in heavily populated areas such as the A Line, E Line, and the 7 which serves South Seattle are packed at capacity,” Smith said in an emailed statement to the Emerald.
In an effort to prevent these cuts, the Transit Riders Union (TRU) will be holding a Day of Action on Oct. 6, which is meant to frame public transportation as a mutual aid effort and make the case for voters to pass Proposition 1 in November. The TRU will also join national transit riders unions across the country that day in calling for the United States Congress to pass the HEROES Act, which includes $32 billion in emergency transit funds.
Continue reading TRU to Hold Day of Action to Bolster Support for Crucial Public Transit Ballot Measure