86 online
Most Popular Choices
Share on Facebook 1 Printer Friendly Page More Sharing
OpEdNews Op Eds   

Bus Riders Form Union in Atlanta

By Jonathan Springston  Posted by Matthew Cardinale (about the submitter)       (Page 1 of 2 pages)   No comments
Message Matthew Cardinale
MARTA Riders' Union Takes Parta in Debate over Public Transit

MARTA is Smarta When We All Take Parta

By Jonathan Springston, Staff Writer, Atlanta Progressive News (February 03, 2006)

" target="_blank">http://www.atlantaprogressivenews.com/pages/31/index.htm

(APN) ATLANTA- The Atlanta Transit Riders' Union (ATRU) believes in the power of the people who ride buses, and has appropriated public transit as a populist issue, Atlanta Progressive News has learned. ATRU claims two major recent victories in 2005 and the group hopes to continue its success in 2006.

In 2005, The Riders' Union successfully prevented MARTA from raising riders' one-way fares by twenty-five cents ($0.25) to two dollars ($2.00) from the current fare of $1.75. ATRU also prevailed in its grasssroots lobbying efforts to restore Bus Route 61 that serves the Bowen Homes Public Housing Project in 2005.

"Our campaign is not a [top-down] lobbying campaign," Terence Courtney, 34, Coordinator for the Atlanta Jobs with Justice (JWJ), said. The Atlanta JWJ is coordinating the Riders' Union, although the leaders stress their main tactic is empowering others and educating them about how to have an effective voice through collective organizing.

"The people most affected have to be organized and activated"only a movement of direct action and protest is going to move those who make decisions to do the right thing," Courtney told Atlanta Progressive News.

Atlanta JWJ is composed of various unions, students, faith groups, and other activists working in Atlanta communities where transit cutbacks hurt the most.

"One of the keys to our victories was going out there and building relationships with present organizations in their communities," Courtney said. "[We] listened to them, went to their meetings, and got their input."

In June 2005, after ATRU protesters scolded MARTA leadership in front of the Lindbergh headquarters, the MARTA Board unanimously approved the 2006 $323.5 million budget without a fare increase.

In August 2005, ATRU and the Bowen Homes Tenants' Association joined together to protest the cut of Bus Route 61. Courtney informs APN as of Dec. 31, 2005 that Route 61 has been restored.

Chioke Perry, 42, President of the ATRU, said he got involved in grassroots campaigning in Spring 2004 out of "frustration." That year, MARTA cut Bus Route 90, which went from roughly the Jonesboro Road area to the Oakland City Station, a route that Perry relied on heavily.

Perry also felt frustration over public servants not helping MARTA and public transportation to "blossom," choosing instead to leave public office and take on private projects, he said.

Perry participated in a protest march held by the employees of the Hamilton E. Homes MARTA Station in front of the Department of Labor in 2004; his grassroots involvement "sort of snowballed from there."

ATRU has three (3) goals for the future, unions leaders tell Atlanta Progressive News. The first goal is to convince leaders to help MARTA with state funding. MARTA is the only U.S. transit system not receiving funding from the state.

Next Page  1  |  2

(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).

Rate It | View Ratings

Matthew Cardinale Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Matthew Cardinale is Editor of Atlanta Progressive News. He has written previously for the Sun-Sentinel Newspaper, Shelterforce Magazine, The Advocate Magazine, The San Francisco Bay View, and the Berkeley Daily Planet Newspaper. He has also (more...)
Go To Commenting
The views expressed herein are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.
Writers Guidelines

Contact EditorContact Editor
Support OpEdNews

OpEdNews depends upon can't survive without your help.

If you value this article and the work of OpEdNews, please either Donate or Purchase a premium membership.

If you've enjoyed this, sign up for our daily or weekly newsletter to get lots of great progressive content.
Daily Weekly     OpEd News Newsletter
   (Opens new browser window)

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Hearings Begin On Bush's Nuclear Plans, New Plutonium Plant Sparks Public Debate

25 US Reps Want Bush Impeachment Inquiry

17 US Reps Want Bush Impeachment Probe

To View Comments or Join the Conversation:

Tell A Friend