Koreatown Members Say Yes to Clean Air and Economic Justice!

Koreatown leaders urge MTA Board of Directors to Support a People’s “Stimulus” Plan for bus service improvements

Bus Riders Union Immediate Release
Sunyoung Yang at 213.387.2800 ext 14

Thursday, March 19th at 10 am - The Bus Riders Union will be holding a press conference at the entrance of the Terry Manor Senior Housing Complex near Vermont and Jefferson joined by leaders from Koreatown organizations, like the Korean Resource Center, Koreatown Immigrant Workers Alliance, and the Korean Senior Citizen Association, to urge the MTA Board of Directors to support the Bus Riders Union's Clean Air and Economic Justice Plan. For the last 2 weeks members of the BRU have been organizing and holding press events to garner support for this plan. Korean elders who represent a significant portion of the bus riding community, will be speaking in solidarity with busriders from South LA, East LA and the rest of the county on the need for massive service improvements and an end to transit segregation.

Over the next 30 years, $8 billion is slated for buses in Measure R, plus an additional $800 million from President Barak Obama's Stimulus Package which translates into more funds for making bus improvements. The MTA board so far has not advanced a real plan with clear goals and timeline. We fear that certain forces at MTA want a vague plan for $8 billion earmarked in Measure R for the bus system, and will ultimately raid the fund to meet Measure R's ambitious rail and highway expansion plans. MTA staff released a report last week about potential use of Measure R bus funds that lacks clear benchmarks for concrete improvements, reiterates support for ongoing fare increases, and points towards service cuts over time.

In contrast to MTA's report, the Bus Riders Union Clear Air and Economic Justice Plan calls for the following:

500 New Expansion Buses -Buy and operate 500 new buses for LA County. In K-town reducing overcrowding is a high priority where some of the most overcrowded bus lines run like Wilshire, Vermont, Western, and Olympic. For many Korean elders frequenting local businesses in Koreatown improving mid-day and weekend service on local lines means reducing waiting times, often at shelter less bus stops. In an era of high unemployment, expanding mobility to jobs, schools, clinics and recreation centers for bus riders also 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! We believe that the MTA Board can begin this by reversing the 2007 fare increase, including restoration of the $52 monthly bus pass. It could save a bus rider at least $120 a year, and hundreds more in a family with multiple bus riders. Measure R guarantees a one-year fare freeze for regular fares and ongoing freeze for seniors and disabled riders. But in these hard times, when families are forced to make hard choices to keep afloat, reducing fares is the only sensible thing to do. Furthermore many families in Koreatown are starting to take advantage of the buses because of the economic downturn and lowering fares is the most effectiveway to attract new ridership and maintain the ones who are using it. In fact, as the LA Times reported earlier this week, MTA ridership peaked two-years ago prior to the July 2007 fare increase.

$150 Million Bus Only Lane Program - Bus-Only Lanes are the present and the future and we should have them on major street corridors and freeways throughout the county. They speed up bus service. They prioritize public transportation, pedestrians and bikes over single passenger automobiles and of course reduce greenhouse gases and improve public health.With limited space for cars (already 2/3 of LA is dedicated to them!), traffic, and global warming, cars can no longer be the primary mode of transportation in Koreatown.

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. New bus lines and improved service in South LA, Southeast LA, and the San Fernando Valley (historically with least service and targetted for MTA service cuts) would allow more access for elders visiting their families living outside of Koreatown and central LA.

BRU Press Conference
Thursday, March 19th 10 AM
3100 S. Vermont St. (entrance of Terry Manor Senior Housing- near Vermont and Jefferson)