You’re Invited: Tax Justice Victory Party, July 30th!

July 19, 2017

We won!!!

Just six months after the Trump-Proof Seattle Coalition began our campaign for tax justice, the Seattle City Council unanimously approved a 2.25% tax on income in excess of $250,000 ($500K for joint filers), to protect against Trump budget cuts and fund vital public services.

Our grassroots campaign has made waves around the country. The right-wing Freedom Foundation, sensing a threat to the entrenched privilege of the very wealthy, has promised to sue. We say bring it on. When we organize, we win!

You’re invited to celebrate this victory with us. There will be food, drink, speeches, music, a photo booth, and great company. Southside Commons is wheelchair accessible, and there’s a beautiful park right outside. See you there! (You can RSVP and share the invitation on Facebook.)

Victory Party
Sunday, July 30
3:00 – 6:00 PM
Southside Commons, 3518 S. Edmunds St.
Two blocks east of Columbia City Light Rail Station
One block west of Route 7 stop on Rainier Ave.

Who Should Lead Seattle?

June 7, 2017

The people, of course! But who should be our representatives in City Hall?

Last month TRU sent nine questions to the candidates for Seattle Mayor, City Council Position 8, and City Council Position 9. Many of them responded. You can read their completed questionnaires here.

On Thursday, June 22, TRU is co-sponsoring a candidate forum with other transportation and housing organizations. Come hear directly from the candidates:

Growing Seattle: A Candidate Forum on Transportation and Housing
Thursday, June 22
5:00 PM – 8:00 PM
Impact Hub Seattle, 220 2nd Ave S.

Pack City Hall for a Progressive Income Tax on June 14

June 7, 2017

On Wednesday, May 31, we unfurled banners bearing thousands of petition cards around the whole perimeter of the council chambers, while an “overwhelming number of people” spoke in favor of a progressive income tax on Seattle’s wealthiest households to fund urgent needs.

This week we are putting the finishing touches on the legislation, and next Wednesday, June 14th, there will be a special council meeting and public hearing where the councilmembers discuss the ordinance for the first time and the people have a chance to testify having seen it.

So far we’re making all the right enemies: the Washington Policy Center, Freedom Foundation, Republican legislators in Olympia, Rob McKenna, the Seattle Times editorial board… but we don’t know who else might come out of the woodwork next Wednesday. It’s up to us to show our councilmembers that we have their backs as they consider this groundbreaking legislation:

Special Meeting & Public Hearing on Progressive Income Tax

Wednesday, June 14
5:00 PM Council Discussion
Public hearing to follow
Council Chambers, Seattle City Hall

Trump-proof Seattle Day of Action: Wednesday, March 1st

February 12, 2017

Click here to RSVP, sign up to volunteer or to receive updates

The Transit Riders Union is helping to build a coalition of community, labor, environmental, and social justice organizations to push for a 2.5% tax on the unearned income (capital gains, interest, dividends) of wealthy Seattle households that make over a quarter million dollars per year. This could raise $100 million dollars per year to help strengthen our communities and defend against Trump, and pave the way to fixing our state’s unjust tax system, the #1 most regressive in the nation.

We are planning a Day of Action for Wednesday, March 1st – including  an event at City Hall in Council Chambers, 12:00 – 1:00 PM; a letter delivery; and phone calls to elected officials.

More details to come soon! In the meantime, you can learn more on our resources page here.

Trump-Proof Seattle by Taxing the Rich!

January 30, 2017
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Seattle City Councilmember Lisa Herbold speaks out!

Click Here to Pledge to Gather Signatures & Sign Up to Volunteer 

Thank you to everyone who came out to the Action Meeting on Saturday, Jan. 28th! If you didn’t make it but would like to sign up to volunteer for signature-gathering and other aspects of the campaign, you can do that here.

We’ve had multiple requests for the slide presentation and other materials from the event, so we are starting to compile resources on this page. We’ll also be creating an FAQ based on the questions submitted at the event. If there are other resources you think would be useful, please get in touch by emailing TRU’s campaign coordinator, Katie, at katie@transitriders.org.

 

Action Meeting: Trump-Proof Seattle by Taxing the Rich!

January 18, 2017

Now is the time to act, right here in Seattle. With the federal government in irresponsible and dangerous hands it’s up to us to build community and resilience and power at a local and state level. On January 28th the Transit Riders Union is hosting an Action Meeting where you can learn about a bold campaign that is in the works right now, and sign up to get involved.

Action Meeting
Saturday, Jan. 28th, 2-4PM
Labor Temple Hall 1
2800 1st Ave

Want to RSVP (helpful but not required)? Can’t attend but want to be kept informed? Sign up here.

WA-regressive-taxWashington State has the #1 most regressive tax system in the nation. That means the poorest people pay the highest percentage of their income in state and local taxes – basically, Seattle and Washington State are tax havens for the wealthy. As a result we can’t adequately fund basic prerequisites of civilization, like education for our children.

And now, we’re all waiting to see what Trump’s administration is going to attack first. The Affordable Care Act is already on the chopping block. What’s next? Workers and their unions? Immigants? Social security and medicare? Foodstamps?

It’s time to act. We can help defend Seattle against Trump, set an example for other cities, AND pave the way to overhauling our state’s regressive tax system. If wealthy people with incomes over $200K contributed more fairly to our community, Seattle could raise hundreds of millions of dollars each year for affordable housing, transit, education, and green jobs. This will be a massive grassroots effort. We need you!

We Won!! King County Acts on Affordable Transit

November 7, 2016
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TRU Member Barb B. speaks

Earlier this year, the Transit Riders Union launched a campaign to improve public transit access for the many thousands of people who can’t afford ORCA LIFT. After all, mobility is a human right – and access to transportation may be the single strongest factor in escaping poverty. So, we delivered letters and petitions. We testified at public hearings. We built coalitions with service providers and other organizations. We met with elected officials. And guess what? We won!!!

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Transit riders turned out to testify before the vote today

We are excited to announce that today the King County Council voted unanimously to cut in half the price service providers pay for tickets through Metro’s Human Services Ticket Program, as we urged. The ticket price had doubled since 2008 due to fare increases. The new lower price will allow service providers to purchase and distribute more tickets and/or redirect funds to other essential services.

This comes after the council voted in September to increase the quantity of reduced-price tickets available each year, and after Metro created a new “combo-ticket” in June to open up access to Link Light Rail for people who rely on bus tickets.

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TRU Member Holly E. speaks

Not only that, the County Executive has promised that during the next biennium, he will “direct Metro to engage other transit agencies, the state, other local jurisdictions, human services agencies and other potential partners in a discussion of transit’s role in contributing to the social safety net for the lowest income residents, and how to possibly provide assistance while still being able to meet the growing demand for transit service throughout King County and the region.”

THANK YOU! to all the people and organizations that have contributed to every phase in this campaign. We have plenty of work still to do, but this is a great step forward.

Vote “APPROVED” on Sound Transit Proposition 1

October 31, 2016

logo@2x.pngYou have your ballot, it’s time to vote! The Transit Riders Union recommends that you vote APPROVED on Sound Transit Proposition 1 (if you live in King County, it’s the last thing on your ballot) and YES on Initiative 1433 to raise the minimum wage and mandate paid sick days statewide.

We’ll soon know whether or not voters in King, Snohomish, and Pierce counties have approved a massive expansion of our region’s light rail system. While there has been some opposition from the usual anti-transit groups, the Seattle Times and even some more urbanist-minded folks in Seattle, the fact remains that in Seattle and around the region, transit, and particularly light rail, remains popular with voters. The massive ridership numbers at the new Capitol Hill and University District stations show that when given an alternative, people will choose transit over sitting in their car in gridlocked traffic.

As bad as traffic is currently it will only get worse in the coming years if we don’t act now to provide expanded light rail service. We’re expected to see 800,000 new people move to the region by 2040, when the projects included in Sound Transit 3 will be wrapping up. With the rising cost of living in Seattle forcing people out into the suburbs and surrounding cities, many of those people will be forced to locate in cities other than Seattle, cities that often do not currently have good, reliable, fast transit service. Continue reading

We Won More Bus Tickets! But We’re Not Done Yet.

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.

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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.

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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)

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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)

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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.

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Better East/West access.

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

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Free Transit!

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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

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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

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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!