TRIMET UNELECTED BOARD VOTES 6-TO-1 TO RAISE FARES AND CUTS BUS SERVICE
At the recent TriMet board meeting, unreported by mass media, over activist protests, the TriMet board voted to raise fares and to cut back on 50 bus lines, the third round of cuts activists have protested in the past two years. In January, TriMet gutted Fareless Square, a 35 year Portland tradition for clean air, transit equity, and The Commons, as well.
The Oregonian's 50 paragraph, front page, lead story reported the surface of the recent TriMet board meeting but omitted the protest activist proposals that the unelected TriMet board voted against.
The TriMet board voted to raise fares by five cents a ride, to cut 2 bus routes, and to cut back (third round of cuts in 2 years) 50 bus lines.
Lynn Lehrback (unreported) with the Teamsters voted again with transit activist against the fare hike (he also voted to keep Farless Square, after Transit Riders Union presented 1,400 signatures on petitions against the cuts and fare hikes!). The board unanimously voted to cut bus routes, at the last board meeting, however.
Transit Riders Union organizers have met twice with elected Metro official Robert Liberty, who notes that Metro has the authority to take over (per ORS) TriMet -- and that Metro IS elected.
Transit activists are also looking at court injunctions to halt the fare increase and bus cuts, as well as an initiative petition to place on the Oregon ballot requiring that the TriMet board be elected -- not the "puppet board" which is currently appointed by Oregon's govenor.
Police reform and Albina Ministerial Alliance official Rev. Allen Bethel, an unelected but new member of the TriMet board, voted with the board, agaisnt transit riders, to raise fares and cut bus service. At the recent Unitarian Church police reform event, Rev. Bethel was asked whether he renounces his black Christian stand against gay people -- Rev. Bethel responded that he was against what he described in other terms -- he said he opposed gaybashing, or beating gays up, but, that he still was against gays in general. (Two lesbian TriMet riders were the subject of harassment by a TriMet driver a couple years ago). Will Rev. Bethel become like Rev. Fred and at some point urge that while Portland police should be "reformed" gay and lesbian transit riders should be banned, or have some special dispensation/charge for using public transit, etc.???
At the TriMet board meeting, transit activist Jason Barbour proposed postponing the fare increase and bus cuts, and was supported in that request by both Transit Riders Union and the transit policy research group, OPAL. Hence, Lynn Lehrbach on the board voting against the fare hike. In Congress, as noted by Jason and TRU organizers at the TriMet board meeting, there is a proposal to fund $20 billion in bus and transit emergency services, amidst Obama federal funding cutbacks.
Transit Riders Union meets Saturdays at 12 noon at PSU, Chit Chat Cafe, 1906 SW Sixth.
address: PO Box 40011, Portland, Oregon 97240
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