BRU Unveils Clean Air and Climate Justice Plan for Measure R

Contact Information: 

Manuel Criollo or Esperanza Martinez at 213.387.2800

Immediate Release

BRU Press Conference

Tuesday, March 10th, 10 AM

Northwest Corner of Wilshire and Western

 

Bus riders urge MTA Board of Directors to Support a People's "Stimulus" Plan for Clean Air and Economic Justice

 

Tuesday, March 10th (Los Angeles) at 10 am - The Bus Riders Union will be holding a press conference on the northeast corner of Wilshire and Western to urge the MTA Board of Directors to support the Bus Riders Union Clean Air and Economic Justice Plan. The MTA Board will be discussing and potentially approving a bus improvement plan at the March 26th MTA Board meeting. As a response to the Bus Riders Union, 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 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 reported by the LA Times, MTA's ridership peaked two-years ago prior to the July 2007 fare increase.

 

* $150 Million Bus Only Lane Program - 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!

 

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. 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. 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.