On the issue: Solidarity with transit-dependent low-income people

This year’s Pride NW parade and festival are sponsored in part by TriMet.  When TriMet claims to be experiencing a historic “budget-shortfall” somehow it has money to throw away on sponsorship.

TriMet, the unelected, governor-appointed public agency with powers to tax, legislate and police with no meaningful accountability except perhaps to the real estate and construction industries to which it pays obeisance, wants to:

  • Finally achieve its years-long wet dream to eradicate the Free Rail Zone, therefore once and for all getting rid of the unhoused, seniors, and mentally-disabled riders who depend on TriMet’s free transit services to move between various social services, shelters, free meals, etc.
  • Eliminate the zone fare structure, and raise the base rate to that of an all-zone ride, to $2.50 one-way.
  • Potentially revisit on the issue of ending free transfers, after having backed off after an organized opposition from OPAL Bus Riders Unite.
  • Astronomically increase enforcement actions, subjecting thousands of people to fines they cannot possibly afford (cruel and unusual punishment?), putting more low-income folks into criminal justice system, and while at it, letting the transit police to arrest more undocumented immigrants for deportation.

We know the real motives behind all this.  TriMet has for the past decade tried hard to make its transit system an integral part of Portland’s “sustainable city” propaganda to attract investors, real estate speculators, and corporate giants.  TriMet wants to market itself as a safe, attractive alternative to driving — and not as a lifeline for those who depend on public transit.  Under the green-washing of TriMet propaganda, helped by the mainstream media scare campaign (violent crimes on TriMet — which is far and few between), and occasional pink-washing through its sponsorship of Pride NW (since they probably think all gays are well-educated, rich, and professional), TriMet is waging a class war on Portland’s underclass.

We stand in solidarity with Occupy TriMet, OPAL Bus Riders Unite, and other community advocacy organizations, as well as rank-and-file TriMet workers.

English: Two buses at the Forest Grove, Oregon...

English: Two buses at the Forest Grove, Oregon terminal of TriMet, the public transit agency serving the Portland, Oregon metropolitan area. This off-street bus loop for route 57 is located at 19th Avenue and B Street in Forest Grove and is the farthest-west point in the TriMet system. Buses 2559 and 2554 are both New Flyer D40LF units built in early 2001. The small building on the right is for use by bus drivers. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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