Feb 4. is Transit Equity Day.
This is a day to honor African American civil rights activist Rosa Parks, on her birthday. Rosa Parks is best remembered for her brave act of resistance by refusing to give up her seat on a bus during the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955. Her role was important to the civil rights movement which highlighted inequities in the public transit system for all to see. It also affirmed that everyone has the right to equal access to public transit.
At Community Transit, one of our Core Values is Equity and Inclusion. This means we align our policies, practices, and resources so everyone has genuine opportunities to fully participate and thrive. Alignment between equity and the work we do every day shows up in outreach, planning and development, and in how we support some of the more vulnerable customers we serve at Community Transit.
The Service Planning team is now using an equity analysis process as part of the development of the 2024 Network Redesign. In our review process, we are prioritizing populations with very low incomes, Latinx and communities of color, foreign-born residents, households that speak limited English, and people living with a disability. Outreach for this plan included documents, the 2024 website and survey in five different languages - English, Spanish, Korean, Russian, and Mandarin Chinese.
Over the last year, the agency has been developing a new public engagement program to provide more opportunity for community stakeholders to provide input in our planning processes. Equity is at the core of our outreach efforts and how we develop better, future service for the communities we serve. We especially have been seeking to involve those who use transit as their primary way to get around and who have been underserved in the past.
With multiple public input opportunities planned for 2022, outreach efforts are ongoing, and we are always interested in partnering with local community groups to increase feedback and help plan services that make travel easy for all.
In 2021 Community Transit launched a pilot program to contract with a social worker to help some of the most vulnerable customers we serve. The pilot program was successful in making connections with these customers and connecting them to community programs and resources. This year we will retain a full-time contracted social worker to continue the program at Community Transit. The goal is to help customers across our service area who may be experiencing homelessness, addiction, and mental health issues so they can use Community Transit services successfully and be connected to the resources they may need.
Our Mission is to help people get from where they are to where they want to be, and our values affirm that we do so equitably to improve access to transportation for all people and to strengthen connections in the communities we serve.