More than 100 riders attended PRT’s info session last night to voice serious concerns about changes being made to the 61D, 71A, 71C, and 71D because of the new BRTx (Bus Rapid Transit University Line) service plan. According to the plan, these routes will stop servicing downtown and Uptown starting October 1st, 2023, and riders will need to get off and wait for another bus to continue inbound or outbound.
Riders who attended the meeting were very clear that this will sever access to schools, grocery stores, apartments, shelters, social services providers, healthcare. They voiced concern that the cuts will affect some low-income neighborhoods and force riders who pay in cash to put out another $2.75 for the transfer. Additionally, they pointed out PRT’s ableist assumptions about transfers, saying that transfers are not just minor inconveniences that add minutes; for many, especially disabled riders, transfers introduce a huge time uncertainty which is an obstacle and disincentive to using transit.
At the meeting, riders flooded the chat with question after question about the changes. Riders felt like the rug was being pulled out from them. Why were these changes happening now? For what purpose? How is it that hundreds of millions of public dollars are being spent on a transportation project that actually reduces their access?
PRT’s answers to these questions seemed scattered and contradictory. They said on the one hand that the changes were always part of 10-year planning process, but instead now that they were being made because of the recent operator shortfall. They also claimed that it was to reduce bus bunching while the construction in the corridor was taking place, which would imply that it would be resolved once the construction is completed.
Riders won’t stop their organizing for BRTx investments to actually improve transit access, not limit it!
Join us on September 29th to rally and testify at the PRT Board Meeting.