Riders Say They’re Thrown Under the Bus

Watching the local news one night last week, a phrase stuck out and at first seemed unbelievable. Discussing city issues, the anchor mentioned the formation of a bus riders union.

Now, we all know that bus drivers, maintenance workers, etc. are in a union. But who knew that the bus riders are entitled to one, too?

It’s nothing new evidently. The bus riders of Los Angeles started one in 1994 and the grassroots group has spread like crab grass. They feel that riding the bus is a civil rights issue.

Looking into it, I found that our old ACORN loving leftists at the Mid South Peace and Justice Center are behind it. They sent around this notice recently:

MATA riders tired of high fares, overcrowded buses, and the lack of bus service at night in some neighborhoods are invited to join the Memphis Bus Riders Union, which will hold its founding meeting on Saturday from 1-3 p.m. at the AFSCME Union Hall, 485 Beale St.

Following a well-attended town hall and several weeks of outreach to Memphis Area Transit Authority (MATA) customers, Transportation Task Force, a grassroots coalition dedicated to transportation issues announced plans for the creation of the Memphis Bus Riders Union (MBRU). The Union will be made up of MATA customers and will be dedicated to raising the level of service and dignity provided by the public transit system as well as to ensuring greater public accountability and public input over MATA policies and practices.

“Public transportation is a civil rights issue,” said Transportation Task Force member Laura Sullivan. “Bus routes still reflect Jim Crow laws when buses took domestic workers out east on routes running west to east.”

Starting on Saturday, February 18th, city bus riders can join the MBRU and stand together to pressure city officials and MATA to improve transit service so that it accurately reflects the realities of Memphis. When 40 percent of Memphians need access to public transit and nearly 25 percent of Memphians live under the poverty line, it is unconscionable to combine fare increases with reduced routes and times.

The Memphis Bus Riders Union is the next step to improving Memphis’ public transit system. TTF members cite imminent employee pension shortfalls, which combined with long standing route problems, increasing fares, and poor customer service, reveal the deep need for grassroots public organization and direct action. Through this movement, Memphians can pressure city and MATA officials to addr

And I thought the city is doing them a favor by providing buses! From the looks of it driving down Union Avenue during rush hours, most of the buses have just a few people rattling around in them. They seem to accommodate riders as much as possible, with bike racks on the front and vehicles that use hybrid bio fuel of some kind to cut down on pollution, if you believe the greenies. The fare is $1.75 for one with an all day pass at $3.50. Considering the rising tsunami of gas prices, this seems entirely reasonable.

But, it isn’t because the group has schedule the next meeting for March 3 from 12:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Riverview Community Center.

The group already has a facebook page. Will they pay dues? Who gets them? What will they do? Strike? That seems a little ridiculous, considering they’re the ones who need the rides.

What’s next? Personally, I wonder could we have a patients’ waiting room union? I, for one, get sick of waiting in a doctor’s office for an hour or two. Could the government do something about that? (Wait, I guess with Obamacare, none of us will be waiting long since there won’t be any doctors to see us.)

How about a movie audience union? Here I am paying to see a movie, yet I am subjected to twenty minutes of insanity inducing trivia questions, public service ads for the military (which I have already paid for via the government), ads to go get sugary drinks and greasy snacks that a food agent would practically arrest my kid for and upcoming trailers of movies so bad the trailer is the best part.

Then how about restaurant patron unions? If you have to wait for your food more than 15 minutes, the restaurant is taxed (wouldn’t Uncle Sam love that new source of $$!). If you get a bad seat do you get recompense? How about if the food is cold?

I could go on and on. When will all this insanity end? You come across an idea so absurd you can’t believe it, yet somebody is going forward with it.

It’s driving us all to the poor house.

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