Transit Month 2021 Begins
With hubs set up around the city, advocates kick off a month of transit celebrations and advocacy
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Transit has taken a beating during the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s why advocates at San Francisco Transit Riders (SFTR), Seamless Bay Area, and affiliated organizations kicked off “Transit Month” Wednesday, launching a series of events and contests in the hopes of giving transit its mojo back. “This month is all about celebrating the vital role of public transit for our communities, getting elected leaders to make transit a priority issue, and – this year in particular – encouraging people to get back on transit,” wrote Seamless’s Stephanie Beechem in an email about the event.
“Now is the time to build the vision for the future of public transportation in San Francisco and the Bay Area,” said Cat Carter, Policy and Communications Director of SFTR. “The pandemic starkly showed how transit is essential. During the most restrictive shelter-in-place, we still had 100,000 daily Muni riders.”
SFTR set up hubs around the city Wednesday where, as seen above in Chinatown, “riders can pick up special gifts, start logging transit rides for prizes in the month-long Transit Ride Contest, and share pictures on social media to show support for excellent public transit,” wrote Carter in a statement. “Folks want to see their service come back,” she told Streetsblog after speaking with people who visited the hub at 3rd and Palou. Shift workers are “saying the lack of evening service is really bad.”
And as with Transit Weeks of years past, the advocates are pressuring local politicians to do more than just talk about and legislate for better transit–and to actually use it themselves. “Mayor London Breed and all eleven San Francisco District Supervisors have pledged participation in San Francisco Transit Riders’ (SFTR) Ride-Along and Rally at City Hall on September 8. City leaders and riders will meet up at locations across the city by 8 a.m. to ride Muni together to City Hall for a rally at 8:45 a.m.,” wrote the SFTR in its statement about the events.
What else is going on? Also from the releases:
- On September 8, from 7:45-9:30, SFTR will host a Ride-Along & Rally at San Francisco City Hall.
- On September 10, at 9 a.m., East Bay Transit Riders Union, Seamless Bay Area, Genesis, and SPUR Oakland will hold a Transit Month rally in Latham Square, Oakland.
- On September 14 (time to be announced), SFTR will host Director of Transportation Jeff Tumlin and Senior Manager of Transit Planning Sean Kennedy for a special online presentation of the 2022 Muni Service Plan. According to SFMTA, the Plan will include options to either return service on Muni’s familiar network, to continue suspension of some routes in favor of investing in a high-frequency network, or a hybrid option of the two.
- On September 22, at 5:30 p.m., SFTR will host an online panel discussion, Transit Safety for All, featuring District 7 Supervisor Myrna Melgar, SFMTA’s Chief Security Officer Kimberly Burrus, and Alliance for Girls Senior Advocacy Manager Haleema Bharoocha.
- On September 29, at 5:30 p.m., SFTR will hold an online panel discussion, “Reducing Emissions, Improving Transit,” with San Francisco Department of the Environment Director Debbie Raphael, SFMTA Planning Director Sarah Jones, and Fehr & Peers Transportation Engineer and Planner Teresa Whinery. This event is sponsored by Fehr & Peers.
And lastly, on October 1, from 5-9 p.m. SFTR, Seamless Bay Area, and East Bay Transit Riders Union will co-host their 4th annual Rider First Awards party. “We need public transit to get to our jobs, and any recovery will be held back without good transit access. We see increasingly devastating fires across California every year because of climate change – we need excellent public transit so people can leave their cars behind and meet our climate goals,” said Carter. “We need to come together now to support public transit, and to celebrate its central role in our city and region’s recovery.”
For more on Transit Month, including additional events not listed in this post, check out the website.