Domestic workers, security guards and bus riders demand action from federal investigation.
by Crystal McMillan on Friday, June 24, 2011
Friday, June 24th the Bus Riders Union, Unite Service Workers West representative Marx Guitterez, and Xiomara Corpeño, Organizer Director with CHIRLA, gathered on the steps of the Los Angeles regional office for the Federal Transit Administration. The group was there to call attention to one of the largest ever cuts in bus service, just weeks before the FTA launches an investigation of possible civil rights resulting from successive rounds of cuts by LA MTA.
You can check out the video of Xiomara's testimony here.
As elected officials across the region tout "America Fast Forward" as the solution to LA's gridlock and low mass transit performance, as the political frenzy grows around the 53-hour closure of the I-405 freeway on the West Side, largely unmentioned is the plight of 500,000 bus riders in Los Angeles who, starting this Sunday, confront a major and permanent interruption of their transportation.
On Sunday, June 26th, 28 bus lines will be eliminated or truncated. In addition, hundreds of thousands of other riders on dozens of lines throughout the County will find their buses running slower and less often but won't find out about the changes until they get to the bus stop on Monday. Two additional sets of cuts are planned for later this year, one in December and another to coincide with the opening of the Expo Line in the fall.
Against this backdrop of bus service cuts is looming an imminent civil rights investigation of the MTA, which the Federal Transit Administration will conduct here in Los Angeles July 12-15. Although MTA officials claim that this investigation is routine, the planned "on-site compliance review" of MTA's civil rights record is one of only two comprehensive investigations of this type nationwide by FTA this year (the other being Atlanta).
"The MTA's pattern of cutting bus service every six months for four years straight, raising transit fares 40% in four years, and adding service to rail lines has been a recipe for disaster. With this investigation, we need the Obama Administration to step in, stem the bleeding, and restore bus service," said Sunyoung Yang, organizer with the Bus Riders Union.
The investigation is in part a response to a civil rights complaint submitted to the FTA by the Bus Riders Union last year alleging discrimination in MTA's pattern of bus service cuts. This will be the first time that Los Angeles County MTA has been subject to such an investigation. It's also the first time the federal government has addressed civil rights in LA transportation since the conclusion in 2006 of a major 10-year civil rights lawsuit brought by the Bus Riders Union.
89.3 KPCC Radio wants to hear how the service cuts are affecting you. They are looking for first hand, authentic stories on the newest transit crisis. Contact them here and tell your story.