What is Transit Justice?
Public Transit - A Choice or Right?
A modern public transit system responds to the needs of a diverse population. There are as many types of riders as there are people. Here we consider two particular types of bus riders - Essential & Choice Riders.
Essential riders ride the bus for their day-to-day economic and social survival. They use transit to get to important institutions like schools, banks or credit unions, social services, healthcare, and jobs. They endure neighborhood service that is unreliable, slow, and unavailable when needed most. Essential bus riders have various personal circumstances that make car ownership impossible.
Public transit authorities cater to choice riders to lure them out of cars and into public transit. They fit buses with amenities like Wi-Fi, app-based fare and boarding technology, and offer express/commuter routes from more affluent neighborhoods to business/employment districts
“Choice-rider” is an industry term used by public transit providers that refers to individuals that ride the bus as an option. Choice riders may have access and the means to afford and use a car, but instead “choose” to ride the bus. More often than not They also have the option to use app-based ride-hailing services like UBER and LYFT. The new scooters on the streets are another option.
Some new services only get people from around the region in and around downtown. These services often give choice riders the option to bypass the very neighborhoods where services are inadequate for Essential riders. This lack of equity in service and planning replicates the racism that has historically plagued our transit policy.
Signs that Essential Riders suffer from transit injustice...
- The creation of routes that serve areas targeted for investment with express/commuter service.
- Nearly flat funding Has Been Maintained for DDOT with little emphasis on improving the State Fair Transit Center & little improvement for bus stops & shelters.
- The Expansion of night and weekend service prioritizes main roads and neighborhoods where new population increases are planned.
- The failure to improve service in All neighborhoods forces families & individuals to ride for hours on a disconnected, under-resourced & unreliable bus system.
A just and equitable public transit system serves all types of riders!!!
Join the Detroit People’s Platform Transit Justice Team!