Transit agencies across the country are in crisis, as ridership has fallen dramatically and the future of transit is unclear. What hasn’t changed is that public transit continues to be a lifeline, especially for our Black, brown and low-income community members that rely on public transit. In turn, these folks perform essential services in our community and their ability to get to work and other places are critical to economic recovery.
Last week, The Street Trust called on the TriMet Board of Directors to allocate the $185 million awarded to TriMet through the federal stimulus bill through a transparent community engagement process. Riders deserve input on how these funds are spent. We also stood in solidarity with our partners at OPAL Environmental Justice and Bus Riders Unite! in calling for a pause on fare enforcement during this time:
“This moment should really be about setting the system up for increasing ridership safely. We know that in general decreasing touch points and making it easier for passengers to keep a distance from drivers is important for making people feel safe enough to start riding the system again. So at this time, where fares are already not a large source of revenue and when we are trying to make the system safe for riders again, we urge the board to consider more clear and direct messaging to riders to let them know that fare enforcement is not a priority right now, and to prioritize pausing fare enforcement on the system to support riders getting back on the system in the short and long term.”
TriMet is hosting three virtual open houses to get community input on reshaping its budget in light of COVID-19. The open houses are from 5 pm to 6:30 pm on Tuesday, June 9 (in Spanish); Wednesday, June 10 and Thursday, June 11.
Please follow TriMet on Facebook for links to join the open houses or contact Advocacy Director at firstname.lastname@example.org. The TriMet Board of Directors will review the budget at its meeting on June 24, 2020.