Tonight is the annual dinner for the Regional Transit Alliance, RTA. They are a group that advocates for more buses in the metro area. At a city council input session I attended last year, RTA came to point out that when the economy is bad, people rely more on transit yet many governments cut transit. It was only by using the bike and bus option that I was able to build enough stamina before I could ride my bicycle everywhere like I do now.
Let’s Go KC, another advocacy organization that promotes all transportation choices, points that the transit and active transportation like bicycling and walking is a social justice issue. According the the Missouri Bicycle and Pedestrian Federation, about 8.3% of Missouri households have no motor vehicle. Urban numbers even higher, 13% with no car in Kansas City, and 25% in St. Louis. How are those people going to get to work?
This is also one of the biggest challenges in the disability community, because many people with disabilities are below the poverty line and can’t afford cars. Coalition for Independence, a group that helps people get out of nursing homes, published a report indicating the need in our community for greater transportation choice.
In the mental health community, many people have case managers who end up providing transportation for people, billing Medicaid up to $40 – $80 for each trip. My idea is that everyone who qualifies for a case manager should have access to a bus pass. One trip a month would pay for it. What a better way to reduce poverty than to allow people to get to work on their own.