Transit advocates, transit riders, politicians, and religious figures mourned the continual underfunding of transit operations by staging a mock funeral for public transit above the 12th Street/Oakland BART station today. The event was tied to a national campaign led by Transit Riders for Public Transportation (TRPT), the Transportation Equity Network and Transportation for
America to pressure Congress to provide funding for transit operations.
"Operating funds are desperately needed," said Rev. Scott Denman, Rector at St. John's Episcopal of Oakland and President of Genesis, which helped organize the Oakland event with Public Advocates, Urban Habitat, TransForm, CALPIRG, and BOSS. "It's time to understand and remember the grief that is in our communities because of what is happening to transit, the impact that transit cuts are having on our poor, the impact that it's having on our economy, the impact it's having on our environment."
As the recession deepens, public transit operators struggle with declining public funding and revenues, a situation that has led to fare increases (SFMTA, BART, AC Transit and East Contra Costa County buses) and expected increases (VTA, SamTrans, Caltrain) throughout the Bay area. According to press material from Public Advocates, operating deficits this year exceed $350 million regionally.