Federal authorities say they will investigate whether L.A. County Metro’s planned cuts in bus service would have a disproportionate effect on poor and minority neighborhoods. The investigation follows an advocacy group’s civil rights complaint to the Federal Transit Administration last fall.
The activist Bus Riders Union celebrated the news on the steps of Metro’s headquarters in downtown Los Angeles. Transit advocate Crystal McMillan has gotten around on buses for 15 years.
She says the proposed cuts to 8 percent of bus service make her feel “Angry, frustrated and disappointed. All those cuts directly affect, like I said, my quality of life, because I have to spend more time in transit.”
McMillan says that Metro’s cuts only affect buses – and that 70 percent of bus riders are low income. The Bus Riders Union wants similar results from the upcoming investigation to one that happened last year in Oakland.
In that case, federal officials found that Bay Area Rapid Transit neglected certain populations. They ordered BART to provide better service to those riders or lose federal money.
L.A. Metro spokeswoman Helen Ortiz-Gilstrap says the agency plans only to cut lines that don’t have enough passengers. “And it’s also important for the public to understand that any line that is eliminated will also have service within a quarter mile.”
Metro officials say the Federal Transit Administration hasn’t told them when the investigation will occur. For now, they still plan to reduce bus service in June.