Hampton Roads Transit Systems Celebrates Civil Rights Icon Rosa Parks on ‘Transit Fairness Day’

HAMPTON, Va. — More than 60 years ago, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on a bus in Montgomery, Alabama.

Hampton Roads transit systems are celebrating the civil rights icon’s birthday on Friday by recognizing ‘Transit Fairness Day,’ as some call for improved public transportation in the city. region.

“Many people [use public transportation] to get to work, travel and get around in everyday life. It’s a necessity for me,” said Sidney Fauntleroy, who told Us he’s been dependent on public transport after going through tough times.

“Between my financial situation, work and mild health issues, my goal is to get back to work,” Fauntleroy said.

Local leaders said that although public transit is funded by taxpayers, it is not easily accessible to everyone.

“[Transportation is especially needed] in low-income areas of black and brown communities, because it’s not just an economic issue, it’s a civil rights issue,” said Gaylene Kanoyton, who serves as both Hampton’s NAACP president and Commissioner of Hampton Roads Transit.

Hampton Roads Transit leaders said that in recognizing Transit Fairness Day, it’s also important to push for more funding so more buses can run every 15 minutes through neighborhoods. low income.

“The access is not there and it is essential that we have it on a regular basis, not only for low-income citizens, but for all citizens at all levels,” Kanoyton said. “It helps our economy and it helps our community.”

Riders said another concern was the labor shortage caused by the pandemic, forcing some to wait longer than expected. As transit leaders realize that safe and affordable rides are important, they are also highlighting the fact that clean transit wants to bring more electric buses to their fleet.

“Buses that don’t contribute to pollution speak well because many of our citizens live in communities where they certainly live in polluted conditions,” said August Bullock, HRT commissioner and NAACP leader.

HRT is not offering free rides on Friday for Transit Fairness Day, but leaders said they will continue to work to expand their workforce and the transit system of the region.

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