Feb. 4 is a day we celebrate the birth of an American hero and recognize Metro’s continuing commitment to fulfilling her mission.
Rosa Parks was born on this day. Her simple act of sitting down and refusing to give up her seat on the bus in defiance of the segregationist laws in Montgomery, Alabama, sparked the modern Civil Rights movement. We recognize her action and celebrate what it helped bring about, America taking its first steps toward the belief that all people are created equal.
Nationally, Feb. 4 is also recognized as Transit Equity Day, a reminder that Rosa Parks’ goal was to ensure that all transit riders were treated fairly and equitably, with dignity and respect.
Metro is proud to carry on Rosa’s human rights legacy. In the words of Metro Transit General Manager Terry White, “Access to mobility is not only vital, but a human right.”
In the midst of the greatest pandemic in a century, Transit Equity means having access to mobility is essential for those workers who are unable to telecommute, as well as those who have no other form of transportation. When faced with the difficult decision to reduce service in the spring of 2020, we focused on our core, all-day service network and worked quickly to add service on routes that were being heavily used by transit dependent essential workers.
Transit Equity also means:
- Keeping our commitment to the community. Last fall, after a year of outreach in South King County, Metro introduced new services as part of the Renton-Kent-Auburn Area Mobility Project (RKAAMP). This project was the first substantive change in service to this area in over a decade, and it launched at a time when other services were being reduced. Retaining a strong, revised network of all-day service in South King County remains a priority.
- Caring about those with greater needs and reaching out to those who have been marginalized.
- Taking the steps necessary to have an open and safe discussions on issues such as fare enforcement to ensure that everyone is afforded dignity and respect.
- Understanding the impact transit has on underserved communities. BIPOC communities, especially those in South King County, have been disproportionally affected by air pollution. As Metro continues its transition to a zero-emission future, we are committed to building our first zero-emission bus base in South King County. Strategic placement of this future bus base ensures these new battery-electric coaches are used in this part of the county, leading to less air pollution, a cleaner environment, and healthier neighborhoods.
Rosa Parks was the spark. As Metro celebrates Transit Equity Day, we strive to carry her torch for the equitable and respectful treatment of all passengers who use our services.