Guest blogger Carmina Ocampo
Amidst tense negotiations and angry protests, the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority
board of directors voted to increase bus fares Thursday in a decision that will hurt the poor communities of color. The plan came as a result of a compromise proposed by Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky, after the Board rejected the Mayor's plan that called for lower fare hikes.
The LA Times
reported that under the new MTA plan, bus fares will increase from $1.25 to $1.50; the daily pass will go from $3 to $5 on July 1 and $6 in 2009; and the monthly pass will go from $52 to $62 on July 1 and $75 in 2009. (The original proposal was much more devastating, proposing to raise the fare from $1.25 to $2 and the monthly pass from $52 to $120 over the next two years).
According to the Bus Riders Union
, most of MTA's 500,000 bus riders are members of the black and Latino working class who rely on public transportation on a daily basis. According to the MTA, the median household income of a bus rider is $12,000. Given these facts, the new plan will no doubt have a devastating impact on the poor people of Los Angeles, who struggle to support their families, commute long hours to work, and face a lack of affordable housing.
The bus fare issue has also concerned API community groups, considering that there are many API immigrants, especially undocumented immigrants, that rely on the bus for daily transportation. One Filipino careworker I recently met told me that she relies on the bus to commute to work everyday and attend meetings at the Pilipino Workers' Center.