Thursday, February 14, 2008

Less People, Same Passion at Westside/Central Sector

Planned Westside and Central Sector Changes
Last night the Westside/Central Sector Council for the Metro Board held their public hearing on Metro's planned service cuts. The meeting wasn't as well attended as the one I attended last week in the San Fernando Valley, but nearly everyone that attended the meeting testified and the outcry was the same, "don't cut our buses, now is the time to grow our transit system, not cut it."
Nearly 30 people testified last evening, all opposed to either some or all of the proposed cuts. A note of levity was added to the evening as Chair Jerard Wright continually announced the "last speaker" only to have someone turn in a speaker's card while the "last speaker" submitted their comments. But, the meeting remained a somber one, as a mix of transit riders all pleaded for their local lines. Among the most popular lines due for elimination was the 220, and the entire night owl (service between 11:00 p.m. and 4:00 a.m.) cuts planned for the 10, 14, 37 and 38.
In another rare show of unity, SO.CA.TA and the Bus Rider's Union both spoke forcefully against the elimination of the late night bus service.
SO.CA.TA representative Ken Ruben noted that "Owl service has always been a 'lifeline' service for those who are both transit-dependent and forced by their economic circumstances to work hours that are not otherwise conductive to using public transit."
A flyer (written in both English and Spanish) from the BRU reminded that Metro planned to cut owl service in 1997 and the BRU with help from janitors, security officers, and hotel workers worked together to defeat the cuts.
If an alliance is forming to stop Metro cuts, they better act fast. The last hearing is tonight, and written comments need to be postmarked today.
Happy Valentine's Day!
Image from the Transit Coalition

2 comments:

Dan W. said...

In addition to people who work late night hours, and I used to be one of those people, there is the social good of giving people a public transit alternative to drinking and driving.

Dana Gabbard said...

In fact the 1997 owl service were rescinded when Judge Hatter ruled they didn't comply with the consent decree. That not showy protests won the day. And since the dcree is now mostly expired that sin't really a precedent that will have weight w/Metro. Also the BRU has been AWOL in re the battle over state transit funding, so their credibility with those of us on thye front lines is zero.