Wednesday, February 13, 2019

People who decide on SunRail don't ride the train

Check out the accompanying photo. These are the local elected officials who serve on the SunRail Commission that oversees the local passenger rail service.

When is the last time you’ve seen any them waiting with you on the platform for the SunRail train to arrive?

Usually, the only time you see them on SunRail is when they’re posing for a publicity photo.

At least two of those officials are chauffeured around by a police detail. During the January rail commission meeting, Volusia County Council Member Ed Kelley freely admitted to the audience that instead of taking the train to the meeting, he chose to ride in a car with another county official.

So, you may wonder, if they don’t ride the train on a regular basis, then how are they qualified to make decisions on the train service that the rest of us receive? (This the same problem with the board that oversees Lynx bus system.)

For decades Central Florida public transit has been largely ignored (and drastically underfunded) because the local officials who vote on the budgets and policies don’t use public transit.

We think the lack of rider representation on the rail commission is a big part of the problem with SunRail – especially its weekday schedule and lack of weekend service.

The train exists to serve riders, so riders should play a direct role in setting the policy for local transit. The advisory boards for SunRail and Lynx are not enough. What those advisory boards have to say is just that – advice. Advice is easily pushed to the side.

Riders need voting representatives on the boards that oversee SunRail and Lynx. That’s the only way that the public can be assured that the real-world concerns of riders will be addressed seriously.

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Why we need Transit Equity Day

Monday (Feb. 4) is Transit Equity Day.

No, there won’t be any parades and you don’t get the day off from work.

Transit Equity Day is a national observance that was created to call attention to the importance of public transit. This date was selected because it was the birthday of Rosa Parks, who is credited with launching the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955 to 1956) to end racial segregation on public buses.

We share the belief of Mrs. Parks, and the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., that access to public transit is a civil right. (If you don’t have a car and can’t afford one, then how do you get to work, the doctor, or shopping for groceries?)

The goal is of Transit Equity Day is to recognize the importance of public transit to everyone because it:
·        Helps reduce traffic congestion
·        Improves our local economy and create more jobs
·        Protects the environment from toxic emissions, which helps to counter the catastrophic danger of global warming.

What can you do to observe Transit Equity Day?
·        If you already use Lynx, SunRail or Votran, click here to create a poster for a selfie to share on your social media to show you’re a supporter.
·        Call and email local, state and federal elected officials and tell them we need more money invested Lynx, SunRail and Votran for more buses and trains to improve the service and make them easier and more convenient to use.
·        At your daily work team meeting, mention today is Transit Equity Day and tell your colleagues why you use the train or bus.
·        If you usually drive, but want to include public transit in your work journey, click here to visit our friends at rethink Your Commute.
·        Plan to have your next work team off-site meeting on SunRail to get a taste of what public transit is like. We have heard that many businesses have done off-sites on the train.

Happy Transit Equity Day!