Letter From Our Director:
We at TCC send our love to you during this unprecedented time. In a moment of crisis, I am inspired to see how people are caring for each other, and grateful to be in community with you all. Many of us are mourning the sudden changes to our routines, our cities, and yes, our commutes. As mobility advocates, social isolation and restricted travel runs counter to our core, and it is difficult to watch our transit agencies struggling. While those who can are stepping up and staying home, many still rely on transit to get to their essential jobs, and transit workers are on the frontlines of keeping society functional. TCC sends everyone in the transportation family solidarity in these troubling times, and looks forward to the day we can return to being all aboard, together.
At Transportation Choices Coalition, our mission is to keep Washington moving, ensuring people across our state can get where they need to go. Now, seemingly overnight, the world has stopped moving to slow the spread of COVID-19. Cities are sheltering-in-place, people are staying home, and transit agencies are seeing a massive decrease in ridership and funding.
Our work is changing every day and we are staying flexible. As the team pivots to respond to the outbreak, the health and safety of our communities are our top priorities. Right now, TCC is focusing on getting riders to essential jobs and services, supporting our transit agencies, and protecting transit workers.
Washington’s transit system is a critical part of our public health emergency infrastructure. Millions of essential workers are transit riders. We are working to keep transit running for those who need it right now. That means ensuring that transit agencies use an equity lens when determining service cuts and sanitize buses daily. We are seeking implementation of policies like backdoor boarding, suspending enforcement, and going fare-free to keep drivers and riders safe. Transit agencies are taking major steps and adapting to the current crisis.
In addition to protecting the health of our transit drivers and riders, we are fighting to save public transit service. We joined a broad coalition of transit advocates from around the nation to ensure transit was a core part of the Federal stimulus package, and successfully secured $25 billion in emergency funding for transit agencies. Here in Washington, TCC is building a table of advocates to ensure leaders in Olympia prioritize transit in our recovery plan, and find better funding tools for transit to ensure the system’s resiliency and sustainability going forward.
Here are three things you can do right now to support transit:
- Take our rider survey.We’re working with Seattle Transit Riders Union to understand the needs of transit riders across the state. Storytelling is the most effective way of connecting needs to change, and we would be grateful if you shared your story with us.
- #TransitIsEssential. Public transit is a critical service in our communities, moving us even during a crisis. Share why #TransitIsEssential on Twitter or Facebook to build broad support for transit.
- Sign up to receive our Action Alerts. This is an evolving situation in a fast moving world. It’s going to be a long bus ride out of this mess, and we want you there with us!
Transit shows up for us every day, now it’s our turn to show up for transit.
Thank you for being a part of our community. Please don’t hesitate to reach out during this time.
Keep the faith,
Transportation Choices Coalition
P.S. If you are moved by our advocacy to keep transit moving during this crisis, your support would mean the world to us. We are responding to the rapidly emerging and immediate needs of our community, as well as investing in long-term advocacy to ensure structural change. Let’s change the game, together.
What we’re reading
- What are the financial impacts to US transit? Transit agencies across the country are under immense financial pressure. TransitCenter estimates that “transit agencies could see an annual shortfall of $26-$38 billion” depending on the extent of the crisis.
- In a week, the coronavirus razed US transit and rail systems. As the coronavirus pandemic swept the country, transit systems nationwide have felt huge hits. Transit needs our help. It is crucial for us to provide and maintain essential services for our riders during this public health emergency and beyond.
- Transit agencies help deliver food to riders at risk during pandemic. With several states instituting orders to limit non-essential travel, several transit providers have partnered with local organizations to make sure those at higher risk can still obtain food and other essentials.
- Untokening Webinar: COVID-19 and community resilience. What is our role as mobility justice practitioners during this time and how can we work together to co-develop community resilience?
- 8 million US essential workers ride transit to their jobs. Workers classified as essential during the COVID-19 emergency account for 36 percent of total transit commuters in the United States. Service must be maintained to allow for safe spacing on buses and trains.
- When the world stops moving. Jarringly quiet highways and empty rail cars are signs of Covid-19’s profound economic and public health impacts. Perhaps leaders can also learn from them.
- Transit agencies respond to COVID-19 novel coronavirus. A list of how agencies in the Puget Sound region are responding to COVID-19.