Take Action: Transit Access for All!

14361198_1105262952856834_1919994176370179392_o copyWe’re getting to the home stretch, but we aren’t there yet. We’ve delivered over 700 petitions along with letters signed by dozens of organizations including service providers, community and advocacy organizations, and labor unions. We’ve been meeting with individual councilmembers, bringing groups of constituents & service providers who work in their districts to speak to the great unmet need for tickets and the importance of transit access for all. And we’ve testified at county budget hearings. We know they’re listening, but they haven’t promised anything yet. We’ve asked the council to take action this fall, but if we don’t do anything more they could very well delay, refusing our call for immediate relief for in favor of a long, slow process with an uncertain end.

That’s why our elected officials need to hear from you, TODAY. We only have a few weeks before the budget is finalized. Receiving large numbers of emails and phone calls will remind them that this is an urgent issue calling for immediate action. Even if you only have one minute to spare, you can send one email by simply copying and pasting. We’re making it easy for you, please help us bring this campaign home!

1. Please EMAIL the King County Councilmembers and County Executive. If you only have a minute, you can copy and paste the email addresses below and send a single message to all of them at once. If you have 5 or 10 minutes to contribute, it’s even better if you can send each one a separate email, adding their name to personalize the greeting. And, of course, feel free to add to or edit the contents of the message, especially if you are a service provider or transit rider who can speak to this issue from personal experience.

Sample Email:

To:

rod.dembowski@kingcounty.gov

larry.gossett@kingcounty.gov

kathy.lambert@kingcounty.gov

jeanne.kohl-welles@kingcounty.gov

dave.upthegrove@kingcounty.gov

claudia.balducci@kingcounty.gov

pete.vonreichbauer@kingcounty.gov

joe.mcdermott@kingcounty.gov

reagan.dunn@kingcounty.gov

kcexec@kingcounty.gov

Subject: Reduce the cost of bus tickets & ensure transit access for all

Body:

Dear Councilmembers,

Thank you for your ongoing commitment to our King County community and to addressing the homelessness state of emergency. I am writing to you to ask that the King County Council take immediate action to improve access to transit through the Metro Human Services Ticket Program.

Research has shown that reliable access to transportation is key to social and economic mobility. People cannot find housing or jobs, let alone live a full and satisfying life, if they can’t get around. For members of our community who are experiencing homelessness and need to access shelter and medical services, mobility can be a matter of life and death. But as our public transit system expands and ridership grows, thousands are being left behind. To address this urgent problem, I ask you to do the following:

1. Lower the price that service providers pay for tickets from 20% to no more than 10% of face value.

2. Increase the supply of tickets so that service providers are allocated as many tickets as they request.

3. Ensure that all transit riders have equal access to all modes, including Metro and Sound Transit buses, Link Light Rail, and Streetcars.

4. Find ways to make transit passes available to people who cannot afford the ORCA LIFT low-income fare, considering Calgary’s sliding-scale program as a model.

I join with the Transit Riders Union in urging King County to continue to be a leader in transit equity.  We applaud the choices the County has made to implement the ORCA LIFT program and Human Services Ticket Program, and ask you to continue working with transit riders, service providers, and very low-income and homeless people to make our public transit system truly affordable and accessible to all.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

2. Please CALL your councilmember, and a few others. Most importantly, call YOUR councilmember, letting them know that you live in their district. (You can find your councilmember and district here: http://www.kingcounty.gov/council/councilmembers/find_district.aspx). If you have time to make a few more phone calls, please also call the County Executive’s office, Dave Upthegrove’s office (he is the budget chair), Rod Dembowski’s office (he is the transportation committee chair), and Joe McDermott’s office (he is the council chair).

Sample Phone Message: 

Hi, my name is ______________. I am calling to ask that the King County Council take immediate action to improve access to transit through Metro’s Human Services Ticket Program. People cannot find housing or jobs, let alone live a full and satisfying life, if they can’t get around. For members of our community who are experiencing homelessness and need to access shelter and medical services, mobility can be a matter of life and death. I ask the council to lower the price that service providers pay for tickets, and increase the supply so that they can purchase as many tickets as they need. I also ask that the County find ways to make transit passes available to people who cannot afford the ORCA LIFT low-income fare. Thank you for your work so far to make King County a leader in transit equity. Please take action this fall to make our public transit system truly affordable and accessible to all.

Rod Dembowski: (206) 477-1001

Larry Gossett: (206) 477-1002

Kathy Lambert: (206) 477-1003

Jeanne Kohl-Welles: (206) 477-1004

Dave Upthegrove: (206) 477-1005

Claudia Balducci: (206) 477-1006

Pete von Reichbauer: (206) 477-1007

Joe McDermott: (206) 477-1008

Reagan Dunn: (206) 477-1009

Executive Dow Constantine: (206) 263-9600