Bus Riders Hunger Strike and The Center For The Working Poor
We consulted with these Bus Riders in their hunger strike against fare increases. These fare hikes are a tax on the poorest of the poor in Los Angeles. In addition to helping them find doctors to supervise their fasters and setting up logistics, Sam, from the Center, gave a moving testimonial of his own 22 day fast at their planning meeting. They asked him to speak at their opening rally where he introduced our friend Dolores Huerta.
Bus Riders Union on Day 6 of Hunger Strike Outside Union Station
By Zach Behren in LAist, on May 26.
Since last Thursday, a handful of Bus Rider Union members have camped out across from Union Station in weeklong hunger strike. Last night at 10 p.m., the atmosphere was jovial: music, singing, conversation, laughter. If it weren’t for the skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles towering above, this was exactly what any campsite in the woods felt like. But here, there’s a message and that is of stopping Metro fare hikes that will begin in July.
“The idea is to basically show the MTA the conditions they are setting people with this fare increase,” explained Ronald Collins who has been fasting since last week. “For working class communities of color, that $13 is a meal, that $13 is added on top of rising cost of rent, the rising cost of school tuition, the rising cost of everything in our lives.”
On July 1st, new fares will be upped a quarter to $1.50 for one ride. Day passes will go up to $6 from $5, Weekly up $3 to $20 and monthly will increase $13 to $75. It’s the third fare hike in 15 years and compared to other major American cities, it’s still lower: New York and Chicago boardings cost $2.25 for a boarding.
Collins, however, is not taking it. “It’s not necessary, we know their budget has increased by $1 billion in the last three years,” he explained.
Bart Reed, who heads up the Transit Coalition, says that money is for capital projects. “It’s not fungible,” he exclaimed, noting that the state took $200 million from Metro this year. While other areas like Orange County cut service because of that raid, Metro used Measure R sales tax money to preserve it.
Reed thinks the fare increases are a better solution than cutting service, which Metro says would happen if they didn’t charge more money. “From where I live [in Sylmar] to the Red Line, the last service from Olive View Hospital goes there at 9 p.m. at night — that’s not acceptable. I rather have service ’til midnight when people get off work and pay a litlte bit more.”
Streets activist Stephen Box said any cuts just put more bicycles on the road. “Every single service cut leaves gaps which makes a cyclist’s contribution as a transportation solution even more signifiacnt because every human on a bike is a gap connector and increases the capacity of a complete transportation system, and that’s Metro’s mandate: to provide a transit sytem.”
The hunger strike will last through Thursday, when the Metro board is scheduled to meet next.
December 17th, 2020
“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die …” — Ecclesiastes 3:1 “Surrender to what is dying, and become attentive to what is emerging.” — … Continue reading
December 27th, 2019
After being invited to Barcelona, Spain this fall for a chaotic tour of book talks, TV appearances, and radio interviews, I needed a place to recover from all the activity. And one of the greatest realizations of my life has … Continue reading
December 24th, 2018
As many of you know, I am a social justice geek. I compulsively read and think about social movements, and have been doing this for a long time, and am now considered a specialist in the field commonly referred to … Continue reading
January 18th, 2018
The election of Trump was like somebody threw a political bomb into the middle of a crowded room. For undocumented people, it meant fear of losing DACA and being deported. For labor unions and the working poor, it meant losing … Continue reading
January 9th, 2017
Many have asked how I am feeling after Trump was elected to President of the US. The largest natural disaster in my lifetime just hit my community. It reminds me of both the day after my father died in my … Continue reading
December 31st, 2014
Dear Friends, I started the Center for the Working Poor in 2006. I donated all my money and my car, and slept on the floor of my shared, cramped apartment with our first full time volunteer, Clayton Perry. We ate … Continue reading
December 17th, 2012
The Center for the Working Poor, (aka the Burning Bush Community), continues to share in the wonderful mix of serving the poor, communal living, prayer and meditation, and nonviolent movement organizing that distinguishes our beautiful home. In addition to delivering … Continue reading
December 15th, 2011
By Paul Engler Every once in a while, a rare and special moment comes when you realize that you are doing more than turning out for just another protest. Instead, you realize that you are in the middle of true … Continue reading