Thursday, March 17, 2022

What does all this mean?

This past week, we shared a deep dive of Metro information in a series 3 posts – the result of months of research, meetings with current and former Metro staff, meetings with our advocacy and organizing partners, anonymous discussions with bus operators, archive visits, and conversations with national experts.

I know; there is a lot to digest here. We shared this information to encourage others to see what we’re seeing. Every community member, bus rider, bus operator, organizer and advocate, journalist, policy-maker, and transportation agency employee should be asking questions about how we address this failure to create a transportation system that works for everyone – especially those who depend on it to survive (and that’s both people who ride and people who operate it!).

The initial response received in just a few short days has shown that even as deep as we dove, there is still so much more to this issue that must be uncovered. We heard from current and former operators sharing the disconnect between the policy-makers and the actual operations, something we have also been hearing from people who rely on the bus. There have been calls back to the legacy of RTD (the agency that eventually became Metro in 1993) that impacts the way operators are paid and treated. Any one of these issues is alone is important enough to address – and there is a lengthy list of what needs to be done.

It can seem overwhelming. It can be overwhelming. The responsibility is on each of us who cares not just about the system but the opportunities it unlocks for our neighbors, our friends and our families when it truly acts as a reliable, safe, and effective public utility. Imagine if your water didn’t flow or your lights went out 10% – 15% of the time. 

Investing in Place’s mission is to shine a light on public investments and advocate for a more inclusive decision-making process and equitable resource allocation in public works and transportation programs for all people in Los Angeles. This work is mostly behind the scenes, mostly in the weeds of multi-hundred page documents, and requires an alliance of partners and communities to share insights not written in those pages.

This week, I hope we shared information to help inform the conversation and frame meaningful questions we should all be asking our agencies and ourselves in whatever role we find ourselves.  

Join us in this effort. Continue to ask these questions. Use your network, power, influence – to whatever degree it exists – to help Metro do better. Want to do even more? Become a supporter of the Investing In Place work by making a contribution to help underwrite this continued collaboration, research, analysis and publication of the information needed to create a world class transportation system in Los Angeles.

Links to this week’s series: 

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by Jessica Meaney

Letter to the Metro Board and CEO

by Jessica Meaney