TRUST Riders, Fund Transit!

#TrustRidersFundTransit! On October 6th, a national coalition of Transit Riders Unions from across the country took local action to demand national change.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on our jobs, public health, and transit systems. Agencies are making cuts and implementing policies that sabotage their own riders. A one-time injection of federal stimulus is drying up and the prospect of passing a second round of funding with  the HEROES Act faces political challenges. These crises have only amplified the violent effects of gentrification, violent policing, and racial inequality that we’ve long struggled against. 

Trust Riders, Fund Transit promotional video by Dean Mougianis (a member of Pittsburghers for Public Transit)

On October 6th, local Transit Riders Unions across the country used #TrustRidersFundTransit to take action on local campaigns and tie them to a national call for expanded transit funding and accountability.

TRUST Coalition’s shared national demands from local transit rider union:

  1. Fund Transit Now & Into the Future– We demand that Congress pass the $32 billion in transit emergency funds included in the HEROES Act, and specify that emergency funds not be spent on fare enforcement.  Commit to long-term, sustainable, expanded funding streams to fund transit operations and capital expansion into the future.
  2. Give Riders a Real Seat At the Table – Improve transparency of funding – more rider involvement and public oversight of transit agency spending/decision-making. The spending plans required for HEROES Act grantees should be made publicly available. 
Clevelanders for Public Transit members rally for expanded transit funding in Ohio

TRUST is an emerging coalition of Transit Riders Unions from across the country focused on building transit rider power and transforming transit systems to put the needs of riders first! We share tactics, build skills and mutually support each other’s campaigns to push transit as a human right.

To get involved, check out the list of local actions in Buffalo, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Portland, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Sacramento, Atlanta, and Seattle!

Bus Riders Unite! / OPAL- link to BRU’s local action facebook event – demilitarize transit, TriMet spends huge money on police, they need to divest and invest in improving transit riders.

Pittsburghers for Public Transit – link to PPT’s  local action facebook event – PPT will host a press conference to launch a petition drive calling  for an emergency low-income fare now! We’ll host a facebook live, and share images from a photo petition via twitter/fb/website. We’ll also share the hashtags, posts, and images through our social.

Buffalo TRU – Link to Btru’s local action facebook page – Members of BTRU will mount special rider advisories at decommissioned  bus stops across our region. Buffalo’s transit authority cut 5 percent of bus service since the pandemic started, and are suggesting more pre-emptive cuts are on the way as they burn through the CARES Act funding. 

MARTA Army – Reach out to their facebook page to get involved – Video, photo sharing, hashtag tape over mask. MARTA needs transparency on why half of the bus system is still not in service

Motor City Freedom Riders – Reach out to their facebook page to get involved – tabling to engage bus riders 

Philly TRU – Reach out to their facebook page to get involved – attending transpo coalition meeting to fight for more funding

Seattle TRU – Reach out to their facebook page to get involved – launching a campaign to distribute care packages to transit riders, and pushing for a ballot initiative to expand transit funding

Clevelanders for Public Transit – Reach out to their facebook page to get involved – action around defunding the police, decriminalize transit, address overlapping district

Sacramento Transit Riders Union – Reach out to their facebook page to get involved

Pittsburghers for Public Transit members before canvass of busway extension campaign.

Or, if you don’t live in those cities & want to support these transit rider unions, take action online!

  1. Follow the TRUST members’ social media accounts and retweet/reshare posts with the #TrustRidersFundTransit hashtag on October 6. Reach out to the union in real life and ask how you can support their work!
  2. Tweet or post a video or picture of yourself with the hashtag #TrustRidersFundTransit and explain why politicians and agencies must take action to fund transit and empower riders!
  3. Tweet at your local politicians with the hashtag #TrustRidersFundTransit to make the shared demands!

And check out the coalition’s #TrustRidersFundTransit day-of-action overview and toolkit document for sample tweets and posts to help you get involved.

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