Media Center

Feb 3

COVID-19 pandemic highlights the critical role of public transit this Transit Equity Day

Silver Spring, MD - Amalgamated Transit Union International President John A. Costa released the following statement to mark Transit Equity Day and Rosa Parks' birthday.

"Civil Rights activist Rosa Parks is remembered for her refusal to surrender her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama, over sixty-five years ago. Her defiance ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott and led to a nationwide victory that ended racial segregation on public transportation.

"To celebrate Rosa Parks on her birthday, the Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) is once again joining labor unions, transit riders, community organizations, and environmental groups to commemorate her bold act of courage and activism through Transit Equity Day.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has put into sharp focus the significant role public transit plays in our society and the disparities that exist to this day. Public transit has been a lifeline to our communities and essential workers, doctors, nurses, and sanitation workers who must get to their life-saving jobs.

"The pandemic has also put transit systems under severe stress while disproportionately impacting the health and wellbeing of hero frontline transit workers and riders. Our Union has lost more than 120 brothers and sisters to this devastating virus, and thousands more have been infected.

"Although we worked hard to pass critical emergency transit funding, first through the CARES Act and then through last year's COVID Relief Bill, we have to continue to advocate and secure long-term funding for our transportation systems.

"While Transit Equity Day will look a little different this year because of the pandemic, ATU Locals from all over the country will be participating. There will still be actions taking place safely on the ground in cities like Hartford, CT, Washington, DC, and Eau Claire, WI. The main event will occur online with an extended two-day community hearing on transit equity from February 3rd to the 4th.  Transit workers and riders will share their stories and discuss the urgent need for affordable, reliable, and safe public transportation. 

"This year's Transit Equity Day during the pandemic, our struggle towards freedom and equality in honor of Rosa Parks is even more pressing. We must continue to courageously demand access to equitable public transportation as a civil right for all."