This Thursday, May 27, the MTA board will be voting on a series of motions about what they call “fareless service.” Supervisor Holly Mitchell, by virtue of her position as County Board of Supervisor, has one vote on that board.
We call on Supervisor Holly Mitchell to VOTE YES on free public transportation for all —K-12 students, community college students, and all of those who ride public transportation with the MTA.
We urge Supervisor Mitchell to VOTE NO on any MTA plan to force low-income bus and rail passengers to prove “poverty” in order to qualify for an experiment in “fareless” transit.
The MTA staff and mayor Garcetti will be introducing a motion for free public transportation for all K-12 and community college students—with no requirement they prove “low-income” to receive it. But the MTA board will also vote on a provision that for everyone else—garment workers, home care workers, security guards, undocumented workers, unemployed, houseless people, you and me—they must either prove or declare “poverty.” This is outrageous. This creates a racial and class stigma and is a civil rights violation. Many low-income Black and Latinx riders cannot or will not prove their income. If they can’t, they must pay the MTA’s exorbitant fares—$1.75 for a one-way ride, $7 a day, and $100 a month! Who can afford this! Well, those who can’t and still ride the trains and buses to get to work, family, just get out, will face outrageous $125 fines, possible arrests, and police brutality—and this is already happening every day on MTA buses and trains, especially against Black Riders, who suffer more than 50% of all citations and arrests because the MTA $650 million police for is always on the look-out for Black people. This is a civil rights violation on its face.
We urge Supervisor Holly Mitchell, who has a seat on the MTA board, to provide leadership on civil rights for the members of her district but also the entire city to introduce the following motion.
Agree with the present MTA plan for free public transit for all K-12 and Community College students with no enforcement and no means test. The Bus Riders Union has fought for this for 25 years.
Vote No on the present MTA motion to create a “pilot project” for fareless transit but only for those who can prove or even assert they are low-income. This will still will leave hundreds of thousands of people unable or unwilling to take any means test leading to tickets, arrests and possible deportations.
Amend the motion to extend “fareless transit” to all MTA riders without proof of income or documentation. This will bring dramatically increase ridership, a multi-racial and multi-class ridership being served equally by the MTA, and end possible civil rights violations.
Please contact Supervisor Holly Mitchell: HollyJMitchell@bos.lacounty.gov 213-974-2222
If you live in the second district and would like to sign on to this letter please send us your name and identification and we will add it to the next time it goes out. We’ll also be contacting you for other social justice issues as well. Info@civilrightscouncil.com
Channing Martinez, director of organizing, Labor/Community Strategy Center
Akunna Uka, teacher, New Roads School
Carmen Anders, teacher, New Roads School
Joe and Celia Ward-Wallace, Co-founders, South L.A. Café
Adé E. Neff Founder of Ride On! Bike Shop
Malcolm Harris, 30 year resident, organizer
Barbara Lott-Holland, Associate director Strategy Center, 30 years in the district
Brigette Amaya, graduate of Augustus Hawkins H.S., organizer Taking Action Clubs
Melinda Alexander, 40 year resident, organizer/educator
Emily Zamora, graduate SMCC, organizer, Taking Action Social Justice Clubs