Transit Riders, Unite!

The Transit Riders Union is an independent, democratic, member-run union of transit riders organizing for better public transit in Seattle, King County and beyond. Through our organizing efforts we won a low income fare! We invite you to join us and fight for the future of public transit!

We Won More Bus Tickets!

September 22, 2016

14361198_1105262952856834_1919994176370179392_oOn Monday, September 19th, the King County Council voted unanimously to expand the Human Services Reduced Fare Ticket Program by around 20%. This will mean more tickets available for low-income youth, seniors, refugees, people with disabilities, and homeless people. Thank you everyone who has supported this effort!

But we’re not done yet. The very next day we delivered over four hundred letters and petitions, and a letter signed by fourteen organizations, asking King County Executive Dow Constantine and the King County Council to take further action to make sure that everyone in our community has access to public transit.

We are asking the county to reduce the match price that service providers pay for tickets from 20% to 10% of face value, ensure that people who rely on the ticket program have access to all Sound Transit services, and to begin work on a very low cost transit pass for riders who can’t afford ORCA LIFT – like they’re doing in Calgary, Canada!

Petition Delivery: Transit Access for All!

September 14, 2016

September 20th Action: RSVP on Facebook

11666254_802859459829129_6689131910156853703_nThousands of people in King County rely on tickets from service providers to ride the buses and light rail. This includes low-income youth, students, seniors, homeless people, veterans, and refugees. But there are never enough tickets.

Mobility is a human right. We are asking King County to:

1. Make more tickets available and lower the “match price” that human service agencies pay from 20% to 10% so that can afford to buy enough tickets for the people they serve.

2. Start working on a very low-cost monthly pass for very low-income riders. Calgary, Canada just started offering a sliding-scale pass costing as little as $5.15 per month! We can do that here!

Sign the petition letter here

Help us put pressure on King County Executive Dow Constantine! We will be delivering letters and petitions to the County Executive and County Councilmembers on Tuesday, September 20 at 2:00 PM. Meet in the park just south of King County Courthouse.

What’s Your Vision of Affordable and Accessible Transit?

August 4, 2016

At the 2016 Solidarity Summit on Affordable Transit, we asked participants this question. Below are some of the responses. Want to chime in? Send your thoughts to contact@transitriders.org with the subject line “Affordable and Accessible”.

Maybe I can afford bus fare to work AND lunch some day.

**************

Affordable bus fares that reward transit users for contributing to the reduction of greenhouse gases.

Expansion of routes to make more bus service available.

Enlist more employers to subsidize Metro passes.

**************

Easy & fun to use

No fare enforcement

Policy decisions that reflect an ethic of love

Real BRT: dedicated bus lanes with right of way for public transit

Hospitable and high-quality bus stops

Prioritizing funding that serves the public (everyone)

**************

Frequent reliable service (every 10 minutes) on high traffic routes until 9:30 pm (#36, #120, #21, #70)

Affordable: $2.50 all day, more reduced fare tickets

Sustainably, fairly financed: Tax the large scale employers that are taxing our infrastructure from influx of new residents

Build transit funding into cost to develop (SLU area)

**************

To be able to travel around the area without worrying about cost. It’s hard enough to get to parts of the area due to route quirks without having to worry about whether I can afford it.

**************

Better East/West access.

Downtown Seattle auto-free zones (i.e. Holland)

**************

Free Transit!

**************

Lower fares on monthly passes even for Orca Lift ($35)

People from all incomes, backgrounds riding together peacefully

Educational outreach to other people that don’t rely on the bus. It is NOT just for the poor or low-income. It is a necessity and is a great, environmentally friendly resource.

More routes and more often in places further from the city center

Extend the 2-hour transfer to 4-6 hours or all-day passes

**************

THE BUS FARE IS TOO DAMN HIGH!

Watch the Solidarity Summit

August 2, 2016
Photo thanks to Doug Nielson

Photo thanks to Doug Nielson

Thanks to everyone who attended the Solidarity Summit on Affordable Transit on July 26th! The house was packed with people and energy, and the afternoon was filled with great speakers, discussion & comradery. Special thanks to our panelists, emcee, workshop facilitators, and all the TRU members who volunteered their time and helped to make the event a success!

If you didn’t make it, you can still watch the speaker program below. Big thanks to Mike McCormick, host of Mind Over Matters on KEXP, for taking the time to come out and record!

As if to highlight the main theme of the Summit, during our speaker program the news broke that Calgary, Canada will start offering monthly transit passes to residents living in extreme poverty for just over $5. Stay tuned for actions and updates as TRU continues our campaign to improve transit access for homeless and very low-income riders!

2016 Solidarity Summit on Affordable Transit

June 21, 2016

This event is free and open to all, but RSVPs are encouraged and appreciated.

Register Today!

Tuesday, July 26th
12:00 pm – 3:00 pm
215 Columbia St.*

Seattle and King County are at the forefront of a growing movement for mass public transit that is affordable and accessible to all.  Just in the past few years, low-income transit riders, public school students, college students, workers, social service providers, and homeless people have organized and won important victories.

Riders speak out for affordable transit in April 2015

Riders speak out for affordable transit in April 2015

And yet, we still have a long way to go. You’re invited to participate in a community assembly on July 26th as we celebrate the progress that’s been made, discuss campaign efforts now underway, envision a future of universally affordable mass transit, and build momentum for new wins this fall!

*SEIU 775 building downtown, served by many transit routes

Solidarity Summit Program

  • 11:45 am   Doors open, Socializing and Refreshments
  • 12:00 pm   Welcome & Introductions
  • 12:15 pm   Panel discussion with audience questions
  • 1:15 pm     Break & Mingle
  • 1:30 pm     Workshops
  • 2:15 pm     Break & Mingle
  • 2:30 pm     Report-backs & Action Plans

This event is free and open to all, but registration is encouraged. In addition to helping us plan, benefits of registration include:

Solidarity Summit Workshops

We have four great workshops planned for July 26th. Here they are! We have limited space in the workshop rooms, so if you have your heart set on one in particular please make sure to register in advance.

1. Riding While Poor: Transit Access for Homeless & Very Low-Income People

For many, ORCA LIFT is too expensive. Thousands of homeless and very low-income people rely on single-use transit tickets from social service providers; but as housing costs and homelessness continue to rise, the need has far outstripped the supply. This workshop will focus on King County’s Human Services Reduced Fare Ticket Program program. How is it working and how could it be improved? What potential exists for new pass-based programs that are more affordable than ORCA LIFT? What are the challenges? How can transit riders and service providers build grassroots momentum and political will to improve transit affordability & access for homeless and very low-income people?

2. Affordable Transit Around the U.S. and Around the World

Rising fares and inadequate funding for public transit are problems that extend beyond Seattle, King County, and Washington State – and so does the movement for affordable transit! In this workshop we’ll look at some different ways transit systems around the country and the world have implemented programs to make transit affordable. We’ll find out how these programs work, how they’re funded, and what King County and Seattle can learn from them.

3. Climate Change, Public Transit & the Funding Wars

As climate change accelerates, we are confronted with the urgency of reducing carbon emissions. Public transit is a clear part of the solution. So why is investing in a true mass transit system, and incentivizing ridership by keeping fares low, not a priority in the United States? In this workshop we’ll delve into the details and history of the underfunding of public transit systems in Washington State and beyond, and discuss what we can do to turn the tide.

4. Tell Your Story to the Camera!

Do you have trouble coming up with money for bus fare, or have you in the past? If you had an unlimited transit pass, how would that change your quality of life? Do you rely on tickets from human service agencies? Your story can help us to win more affordable transit for thousands of people, and we want to record it for posterity! In this workshop we’ll be conducting short video interviews, inviting you to speak about your experiences riding public transit and what affordable transit means to you. We’ll use these videos to create a short online film. And if you prefer to write about your ex periences instead, that helps too!

Raise Up Washington with TRU

June 7, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-06-07 at 11.40.19 AMIn March TRU endorsed Initiative 1433, to raise the minimum wage and guarantee paid sick leave for workers throughout Washington State. The clock is ticking to gather enough signatures before the June 30th deadline. This month TRU members and friends will be helping to gather signatures. Join us! Check our calendar for details, or volunteer directly with the Raise Up Washington campaign.

This Changes Everything: Film Screening

May 10, 2016

PosterWithShadow

This Changes Everything: Film Screening
Saturday, May 14th
6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Hillman City Collaboratory, 5623 Rainier Ave S.

This Saturday, come on out to the Hillman City Collaboratory for a community screening of This Changes Everything, the 2015 documentary film based on Naomi Klein’s best-selling book on climate change and the need for a radical social and economic transformation. TRU is hosting this free event in collaboration with the Meaningful Movies project. There will be popcorn and other refreshments, and the movie will be followed by a discussion. RSVP on Facebook and invite your friends!

May Day March & Newsletter Launch

April 28, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 10.59.32 AM
Sunday, May 1st is International Workers’ Day! TRU will be rallying and marching in solidarity with workers and immigrants in the annual rally and march organized by El Comite, and we invite you to join us. We’re also launching the spring issue of our Transit Reader newsletter that day.

1 PM – Gather at Judkins Park, 2015 S. Norman St. (served by Metro routes 8, 48, 27, 3, 4, 7)
2 PM – Rally at Judkins Park
3 PM – March begins, proceeds to downtown Seattle.

TRU will have our table set up in the park from 1-3 PM, so come by to say hi and grab a free copy of the Transit Reader! We’ll also have copies of the Seattle Transit Map, and balloons for the kids. After that we’ll be marching with our banner, and we’d love to have you join us!

TRU Comments on the Sound Transit 3 Proposal

April 26, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 2.02.41 PMUPDATE: Monday, May 2nd Friday, April 29th is the last date for public comment on ST3, the 25-year, $50 billion light rail expansion package that will be heading to the ballot this November. Click the image at the left to visit the ST3 website, where you can read about the package, take a survey, and find details of public meetings.

TRU is submitting a letter (you can read a draft here) urging Sound Transit to make the following improvements to the ST3 proposal:

  • Use their progressive Employer Tax authority to raise an additional $1-2 billion
  • Speed up the timeline for an infill station at Graham St.
  • Add funding for a station at 130th St.
  • Prioritize affordable housing and equitable Transit-Oriented Development near stations and on Sound Transit land

We won! Light rail access for riders who rely on tickets!

April 19, 2016
Transit Riders partake in a community meal at Westlake Park before riding the train.

Transit Riders partake in a community meal at Westlake Park before heading to the train.

On April 16th, over a hundred transit riders rallied and rode the light rail in celebration of winning our campaign against a two-tier transit system! The day before the event, Metro and Sound Transit announced their short-term fix that will allow very low-income and no-income riders who depend on tickets from social service organizations to ride the light rail:

Starting in June, social service organizations will be able to purchase these "combo-tickets" to distribute to very low-income and homeless riders.

Starting in June, social service organizations will be able to purchase these “combo-tickets” to distribute to very low-income and homeless riders. Until then, organizations that purchase light rail passes will receive bus tickets for free.

Thank you to everyone who signed our petition and helped us to win this campaign! TRU will continue to push for more tickets to be available to organizations at a lower cost, and for monthly ORCA passes that are affordable and accessible for very low-income and no-income riders. Join us – together we can win!