OPAL (Organizing People, Activating Leaders) is running an online petition drive requesting that TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane prioritize discretionary funds toward restoration of bus service over other uses:
TriMet has cut 200,000 hours (over 15%) of transit service in the last two years. These cuts result in a heavier burden on the growing number of people who depend on public transportation. We experience longer wait times, overcrowding, and missed connections. Diminishing service is a barrier to accessing jobs, education, recreation, housing and health. We ask TriMet’s General Manager Neil McFarlane to adopt a policy to use all discretionary funds to restore transit service first, until all 200,000 hours are restored.
TriMet has declared that restoring frequent service is their top priority, when resources permit. The current TriMet position is that restoring cuts will take over 10 years – beyond 2020 – this is inadequate and unjust. We urge Neil McFarlane to support the transit dependent community by each year recommending a budget that directs all discretionary funds to restore transit service, guided by a transparent methodology that takes into account the needs of transit-dependent riders.
We appreciate TriMet’s new efforts to engage more meaningfully with environmental justice communities, including OPAL and our Bus Riders Unite community group. We are disappointed however in the lack of transparency and accountability measures. We urge TriMet’s GM McFarlane to use his authority to restore transit first.