By Michelle Allison, Metro General Manager, and Ken Price, ATU 587 President
Metro and Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) Local 587 are proud to recognize and support Transit Equity Day and its mission to make public transit accessible and affordable to all.
Recognized annually on February 4, Transit Equity Day is a collaborative effort of several organizations and unions to promote transit as a civil right and a strategy to combat climate change. It also commemorates the birth date of civil rights activist Rosa Parks (Feb. 4, 1913). Rosa’s brave act of defiance on Dec. 1, 1955, when she refused to give up her bus seat to a white passenger in violation of Alabama’s segregation laws, became a catalyst for the civil rights movement.
While we honor her legacy, we also recognize that unequal access to public transit based on race, income, and disability has persisted to this day. Essential transit riders make up a significant portion of those in the most vulnerable communities and those with the greatest need.
Our commitment to the environment, King County, and employees
We are uniquely positioned to lead our region’s mobility transformation in a way that creates healthier neighborhoods, a sustainable environment, and advances social equity and opportunity. By providing safe, reliable, and equitable public transportation services, we can improve regional mobility and quality of life in King County. We are committed to the following:
- Build fast, frequent, reliable all-day services that are both prioritized and co-created for those with the greatest need of public transit.
- Transition to a 100% zero-emissions fleet powered by renewable energy no later than 2035.
- Modernize our system.
- Encourage the public to use transit and help reduce car trips.
- Reduce fossil fuel (i.e., natural gas) use in our facilities by 80% by 2050.
- Continue to demonstrate the value of public transit to grow capacity and resources, which will result in more service and measurable outcomes.
In support of Transit Equity Day, we want to reinforce our shared mission to serve all of King County’s communities and to provide fair, safe, healthy, and secure working conditions for our transit workers.
The only way to have transit equity is to make transit free (tax-funded) just like libraries.
The goals you commit to are otherwise good. All-day transit is important for night shift workers and people who work weekends. Why isn’t Link 24/7? Why does Sounder not operate on weekends? Why does the First Hill streetcar stop running before midnight? Those are problems to be solved in the future. (I know some of those are Sound Transit rather than King County Metro, but they still affect people in King County)
I’m excited to see more bus routes turn into trolleybus routes as you go emissions-free. (battery buses are not the answer: lithium mining is not good for the environment)
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