Alex Goldmark is a senior producer in the newsroom for New Tech City and Transportation Nation.
As we reported in an hour-long radio documentary, transit choices often carry civil rights implications. Now, activists in Los Angeles are claiming that the LA MTA has violated the rights of 500,000 low income and minority riders, as KPCC reports.
By cutting more than 800,000 hours of bus service around Los Angeles, the agency knowingly discriminated against bus riders from ethnic communities, say protesters.
“Did ten years of civil rights oversight not teach the MTA how to perform civil rights analysis?," Barbara Lott-Holland of the Bus Rider Union asked rhetorically. "The MTA did exactly what they promised the courts they would not do -- they went back to their old habits of stealing from bus riders.”
The Federal Transit Administration conducted an 18-month review of the cuts, resulting in a recommendation to the MTA to review the choice of services to cut.
The FTA review was in response to a claim from The Bus Riders Union and Public Advocates, a civil rights nonprofit. The groups argue that LA Metro discriminated against minorities in focusing transit service cuts solely on bus routes used primarily by people of color, during a time when service on rail routes increased. A statement from the groups sent to TN notes that "Metro Bus riders are less than half as likely as Metro Rail riders to be white, and Metro Rail riders are 30 percent less likely to be Latino than Metro Bus riders."
The MTA says the decisions were economically motivated and adds it were planning it's own review of the decisions anyway.
For more details, links to the letters, documents and statements from all sides, as well as an audio report, visit KPCC.