Bus Riders Union
Clean Air and Economic Justice Plan for Measure R
- 500 New Expansion Buses
- Reverse the 2007 Fare Increase
- $150 Million Bus Only Lane Program
- No Service Cuts--Expansion, Not Reductions
Read Clean Air Economic Justice Plan Report (pdf)
The Bus Riders Union plan calls for:
500 New Expansion Buses
For starters, buy and operate 500 new buses for LA Country. This would reduce overcrowding, reduce wait times, improve night and weekend service, initiate new bus lines. It would improve service in South LA, Southeast LA, and the San Fernando Valley and everywhere in between. It supports bus rider's mobility to jobs, schools, clinics and recreation centers. It creates over 2, 875 new green jobs in L.A. alone.
Reverse the 2007 Fare Increase
What bus riders really need is a $20 monthly bus pass! And we believe that the MTA Board can begin this by reversing the 2007 fare increase by restoring the $52 monthly bus pass and undoing all the increases approved in 2007. It could save a bus rider at least $120 a year, and hundreds more in a family with multiple bus riders. While Measure R guarantees a one-year fare freeze for regular fares; these are hard times, families are forced to make hard choices to keep afloat therefore reducing fares is the only sensible thing to do. Lower fares are also an effective form of attracting new ridership, in fact, As the LA Times reported this morning, MTA ridership peaked two-years ago prior to the July 2007 fare increase.
$150 Million Bus Only Lane Program
Organizer Esperanza Martinez holds the sign with BRU members.
Read event report 6/29/20009:BRU Launches Policy Paper
Read Event Press Release
This would be a down payment to creating an actual plan and begin breaking ground for a Bus-Only Lanes network in L.A. County. We can have Bus-Only Lanes on major street corridors and freeways. Bus-Only Lanes are the present and the future - they speed up bus service, prioritize public transportation, pedestrians and bikes over single passenger automobiles and represent a true green alternative to reduce greenhouse gases and improve public health.
No Service Cuts - Expansion, Not Reductions!
Given that L.A. residents will be paying close to 10-cents per taxable dollar (including three separate transit sale taxes) - L.A. residents and bus riders need service expansions, not reductions. Certain forces at MTA will find any excuse to cut buses or raise fares, yet they continue to expand rail and highway at any cost; two years ago, MTA argued that bus riders weren't paying their "fair" share as a way to justify fare increases. Last year, they planned to cut 24 so-called "unproductive" lines in South LA and this year, they claim insolvency given the state budget cuts. Stop the excuses, start the expansion!
As a response to the Bus Riders Union request, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa opened a process in December 2008 with the objective to outline the MTA's commitment to the Measure R 20% bus allocation fund. Over the next 30 years, $8 billion is slated for buses in Measure R, plus an additional $700 million from President Barak Obama's Stimulus Package. Which translates into more funds designated for buses and more local funds that are freed up that could potentially be used to improve and expand the bus system.
The fear is that certain forces at MTA want a vague 20% Measure R bus fund to ultimately raid to meet rail and highway expansion plans earmarked in Measure R. The MTA Board were supposed to discuss and potentially approving a bus improvement plan at the March 26th MTA Board meeting, unfortunately MTA staff is trying to subvert the process by burying this discussion at a subcommittee by filing a "recieve and file" agenda item, virtually ending the discussion with a flimsy report that has no commitments and no timelines.
The Current Situation
New and Old Faces at MTA - They Can Break the MTA's Past History of Treating Buses and Bus Riders as a Third-Class Category
There is a new MTA CEO Art Leahy (an ex-RTD bus driver in fact), three new MTA board members - L.A. County Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, MTA Director Diane Dubois and a soon to be named L.A. City Councilperson as part of Mayor Villaraigosa's appointees; can this be a potential new block that supports bus riders by bringing a new vision for a holistic public transportation system? Bus riders and their allies will be rallying and reaching out to MTA Board members to demonstrate their support for the BRU's plan. It's now on the MTA Board - we acknowledge the Mayor's effort to open up this conversation, now we need him to support the BRU plan. The Bus Riders Union Clean Air and Economic Justice Plan is solid, we need a motion and seven votes to support the environment, break transit segregation and uplift working class bus riders of color.
Judi Redman, a native of South L.A. and a member of the Bus Riders Union.
My neighborhood is primarily Blacks, Latinos, single mothers, students and elderly. Most are low income and/or unemployed and of course like myself rely on the buses to negotiate their daily lives. I am very excited about the opportunity to shape the expansion of a 1st class bus system, one, that if implemented, can provide relief and real stimulus for low income communities needing better bus service. I urge the MTA board members to adopt the BRU’s platform...
In these tough economic times it is even more crucial that we have a 1st class bus system to get people to and from desperately needed jobs, and allowing for those seeking employment to be able to accept jobs that aren’t traditionally 9-to-5: hospital workers, food servers, security guards, refinery workers, custodians and airport personnel who work at night. I have had to turn down many a job because there was no service after a certain hour, or it would mean I had to stand on a corner, for up to an hour, at night...
The bus system in Los Angeles is already overcrowed, slow and terribly lacking in service during off-peak hours. I live near three major high schools and a large shopping mall. From 3 to 7pm the buses are dangerously over packed. Buses frequently pass me by, making me late for work. With 500 more expansion buses, riders won’t have to be packed in like sardines and actually have a dignified ride to work or home.
Rosa Miranda, soy miembro del sindicato de pasajeros
...La MTA no se da cuenta que ellos quieren sacar los fondos, para cerrar su deficit, de la gente mas vulnerable, la gente quien vive en deficit diario, somos jornaleros, domesticas, guardias de seguridad, pintores. La gente con más necesidad sale siendo la mas perjudicada por las decisiones de la MTA...
Esperanza Martinez, outlining the stark differences between the BRU Plan and MTA Staff “Bus Improvement Plan”
..MTA staff, has released their plan for bus improvements, we ask that the MTA Board direct staff to do a major overhaul of this disappointing plan. This plan is vague & non-commital and we believe this will lead to the practice of creating a raidable pot of money.
While the BRU calls for a reduction of current fares, MTA staff calls for fare increases for the next 30 years!
While we call for bus only lanes to improve mobility in the region, MTA staff wants to increase maximum headways to 45 minutes during off-peak periods and 30 minutes in peak periods on major lines
While the BRU calls for the expansion of service, MTA staff is researching ways to put less resources out on the streets by outling malicious “efficiency” modifications, for example, taking away stops and reducing end to end service on bus lines
MTA staff is considering 7 new bus lines—with $8 billion in the pipeline, this is not enough and it’s insulting. MTA operates 2,100 buses during peak period, New York City MTA has about 4,000 buses running during peak hours. The bus fleet is much too small, we need an acutal expansion of the bus fleet.