On Wednesday 5/16/12 , Occupy Oakland and rank-and-file AC-Transit drivers announced a campaign that will pressure the MTC to make transportation more accessible for low-income communities and to reverse concessions forced on transit workers. This campaign kicks off today by asking drivers to honor transfers for multiple use and up to 3 hours. Riders and drivers stand in solidarity in this demand for a just transportation system.
Next year, another round of fare increases is scheduled to go into effect. This is in addition to service cuts disproportionately applied to poorer communities of color. Many people have to pay two full fares to get to work, and two more to get back. This means many transfers expire while people are waiting for their second bus. Bus riders, especially economically disadvantaged bus riders, increasingly have had to pay more to get less.
Drivers have also had to give more for less. Sometimes a 12-hr shift is barely paused for a break of ten minutes or less. Besides creating an unsafe work environment and an unsafe ride, frustrated drivers and riders end up fighting with each other over transfers or late buses.
Meanwhile, the people ripping everyone off and gutting service – the 1% – are out of reach. The rich 1% could not make money without the support of hundreds of thousands of workers who ride the bus and the transit workers who take them there.
“For years, bus fares have increased while working conditions and pay have steadily declined,” said Mike King of Occupy Oakland. “This reality can only be rectified by riders and drivers standing together and building collective social power to create a just bus system for everyone.”
This effort around transfers is a small step, but will be one of many as we escalate the campaign in the coming months.
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