by Erica C. Barnett
(This article was originally published by PubliCola and has been reprinted under an agreement.)
Legislation that would make it easier for Sound Transit to adopt a fare enforcement system that does not involve the court or criminal justice system is coasting through the state Senate after passing the House on a near-unanimous bipartisan vote.
House Bill 1301, originally sponsored by Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon (D-34, Seattle), gives Sound Transit the authority to create an “alternative fare enforcement system” that could include resolutions other than fines for people who fail to pay their fare. The State Senate Transportation Committee voted unanimously on Tuesday to move the bill to the Rules Committee, the final step before a floor vote.
Continue reading Legislation Eliminates One Objection to Sound Transit Fare Enforcement Reform
by Jack Russillo
After Seattle City Council voted yesterday on the 2021 City budget, partners in the Solidarity Budget coalition hosted a live Facebook-streamed teach-in event to share perspectives and analyses of the close-to-official City budget. Mayor Jenny Durkan has said she will sign the budget into law next week.
Solidarity Budget is a platform endorsed by more than 200 community organizations who have been calling for a 2021 City budget that is anti-racist, pro-Black, and that works toward a healthy future for all. Among representatives from King County Equity Now (KCEN), Decriminalize Seattle, Transit Riders Union, Got Green, Puget Sound Sage, and other Solidarity-Budget-supporting organizations, political activist Nikkita Oliver helped facilitate the 77 minutes of virtual conversations.
Continue reading After Council Vote, Solidarity Budget Celebrates Victories but Battle Against SPD’s “Hugely Bloated Budget” Continues
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
by Jason Austin
Born out of a fight against bus service cuts in 2011 the Transit Riders Union (TRU) is an independent, democratic, member-run union of transit riders organizing for mobility and transit justice in Seattle and King County. We recognize that the uprisings sweeping the nation flow from centuries of racial oppression, increasing economic inequality, and years of unheeded calls for reform and restitution. TRU stands with protesters in Seattle, Minneapolis, Louisville and many other communities across the country demanding health, safety, and freedom for Black people in America and demanding justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Tony McDade and countless others killed by the police. Our members have spent the last three weeks using public transportation to travel to the protests. We were horrified to see our public transportation infrastructure being weaponized against the very people it was created to serve.
Continue reading OPINION: Riders Nationwide Have Called on Transit Agencies to Cut Ties With Police — King Co. Metro Listened
By Carolyn Bick
South Seattleites who depend on King County Metro and Sound Transit services to get around may have to adjust their schedules starting on Monday, March 23. The two public transportation systems will be scaling back trips and hours, due to a significant drop in ridership, as a result of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.
Continue reading King County Metro, Sound Transit to cut trips on almost all transit services
by Mary Hubert
King County Metro has proposed an income-based fare program that would enable King County residents to pay transit cost on a sliding scale.
This plan responds to increasing concern over the escalating costs of metro fares, which currently exceed those of many other major cities. Although Metro recently rolled out its ORCA LIFT program, which allows qualifying participants to pay $1.50 per ride, the growing number of transit users who either cannot afford this rate or otherwise remain unassisted has prompted further strategizing.
Continue reading Income-Based Fare Program Offers Hope, But Some Say Metro Still Needs to Close the Gaps