The Sacramento Regional Transit Board has voted to lower the price of fares for K-12 students starting January 1st, 2018.
Sacramento is an urban city with multitudes of suburban areas around its edges. Thousands of people who live here rely on public transportations every day to travel to and from the places they need to go. Buses and the light rail system are essential for many people in their commutes. While some people are able to use the transit system without problems, other people find that their needs fall through the cracks. One group that seeks to address the problems that are often overlooked is the Sacramento Transit Rider Union. Sac TRU works with Organize Sacramento in its efforts to alleviate transit complications.
“Sacramento Transit Rider Union meets regularly to identify issues that affect riders that we feel are not being effectively addressed by Regional Transit,” said Sarah Kerber, Secretary for Organize Sacramento. “One of the issues we are working on right now is restoring free transfer to all fares. If you currently buy a cash farer, you’re not given a free 90 minutes [free transfer] which the other fares have access to. This leaves out a large portion of riders from receiving that benefit.”
One of their advocacy goals is focusing on the excessive triple-digit temperatures that the transit riders are experiencing while using the light rail. One Sac TRU member voiced their concern about the potentially fatal safety issues and was able to get a response from
The RT General Manager and CEO, Henry Li. The public was able to get an explanation of why the light rail system is in the conditions that they are. This shows that RT is being held responsible for their actions and the people are aware of the conditions of their transit system. The full letter can be found here.
According to Sac TRU, they are “a community coalition, including public transit riders, neighborhood leaders, transit workers, student groups, community organizations, small business associations, and workers’ rights groups.” They are often found at monthly meetings in the Organize Sacramento main office on Broadway.
SacTRU held it’s weekly meeting this past Saturday. The meeting discussed key issues that effect riders and how they plan on make changes to benefit transit riders in the city of Sacramento.
In a world of ever-changing rules and regulations, youth input can have a huge impact in making sure the needs of young people are addressed. Organizations like the California Association of Student Councils and the Youth Leadership Institute provide high school students the opportunity to voice their opinions on change. Today, a new organization called the Sacramento Youth Transit Board hopes to provide a similar opportunity to all students interested in Regional Transit.
Founded by current high school student Zelia Gonzales, the Youth Transit Board is currently under development. The Transit Board will potentially be made up of a group of students interested in expressing concerns about their community, particularly regarding public transportation.
“The purpose of the Sacramento Youth Transit Board is to provide recommendations to Regional Transit and to encourage youth to ride transit through outreach and education,” says Gonzales, founder and chair of the Youth Transit Board.
The Sacramento Youth Transit Board welcomes all students ready to “organize transit audits, organize transit field-trips for groups of youth riders, conduct honest surveys of youth riders, set up readable bus and light rail maps in schools.”
Public transit is a bigger issue than many may realize. A survey of more than 400 students in the Sacramento City Unified School District showed that “75 percent of students said the punctuality of buses was their top complaint” (sacramentopress.com).
“Public transportation [needs to be] more reliable and useful for a mode of transportation,” says youth leader Ashley Owens.
The Sacramento Youth Transit Board hopes to voice these concerns and more. Students who show patterns of chronic tardiness could highly benefit from the expansion of Regional Transit.
“When students are chronically late to school, there’s always the concern of if they can get a ride or not. If they had a free transit pass, they could,” comments Gonzales. “[Public transport is] important because it is a lifeline for youth in our cities who want to gain independence and opportunities.”
On April 5th, from 2pm-4pm at the Sol Collective, an open forum will be held concerning the local control funding formula. Youth will be welcomed to learn more about community surveys that determine how funding will be distributed, as well as discuss their priorities regarding funding. Applications for the Sacramento Youth Transit Board will be available at the event. If youth show interest in regional transit at the open forum, the Youth Transit Board will form around their ideas and levels of interest.
“The Sacramento Youth Transit Board is all about creating opportunities for youth,” Gonzales says.
For more information, contact Gonzales at firstname.lastname@example.org or attend the open forum on April 5th at 2574 21st Street. Visit the Sol Collective website here.