Apply for the new Statewide Transit Rider Organizing Fellowship

Image description: photo of 8 Organizing Fellows from PPT’s “Beyond the East Busway” campaign with PPT organizer Josh Malloy. Everyone is standing on a set of stairs, smiling with fists in the air. Many are wearing PPT t-shirts and buttons.

Bus riders in PA are building a movement for public transit that is more affordable, reliable, and dignified for everyone in our state!

Who we are and what we do

PITTSBURGHERS FOR PUBLIC TRANSIT (PPT) and the PHILLY TRANSIT RIDERS UNION (PhillyTRU) are grassroots organizations of transit riders, transit workers, and residents. We mobilize together for equitable, affordable, and sustainable public transit.

What is the PA Statewide Transit Rider & Worker Organizing Fellowship?

The PA Statewide Transit Rider & Worker Organizing Fellowship will build a united and politically powerful constituency of PA transit riders and workers that can not be ignored. We will hire 5 fellows from regions across the state that are serviced by public transit systems – both large and small, urban and rural. 

These fellows will spend April to July working with Pittsburghers for Public Transit, the Philly Transit Riders Union, and local transit workers to develop a coordinated, grassroots network of local “transit rider unions”. These transit rider unions will build local leadership among rider and worker advocates, agitate around local and statewide issues, educate elected officials, and win tangible improvements for fellow transit riders in PA.

Requirements to apply

  • Applicants should live in cities like Allentown, Reading, Lancaster, York, Harrisburg, Wilkes-Barre, Scranton, Williamsport, State College, Altoona, Johnstown, or Erie
  • Applicants should have regular access to a computer or tablet, be familiar with putting in data in spreadsheets and reading spreadsheets, and familiar with video conferencing technology like Zoom and Google Meets.
  • Applicants must already be active within their community, with some demonstrated leadership or volunteering efforts.
  • Applicants should be regular transit riders or should have been regular transit riders in the past, with some familiarity with the regional transit routes. 
  • Applicants must commit to the four-month timeline and fulfill the outreach and meeting attendance detailed above.
PPT and Philly TRU are strongly encouraging women, POC, LGBTQIA, disabled people, poor, and other marginalized people to apply for the fellowship. We welcome applicants who are working full-time hours or have other regular commitments – this is a flexible commitment and we can find ways to make this work for your schedule.

The organizing skills that the organizing fellows will learn

The fellows will learn how to collectively run a successful statewide organizing campaign and set and meet attainable goals around community engagement. They will learn how to power-map local transit systems, identify allied stakeholders and volunteers, build and execute effective outreach plans, and engage local transit riders and workers to develop them as leaders in local and statewide organizing. Fellows will be able to talk with confidence about the importance of transit for individual household economic opportunity as well as statewide economic development. Fellows will be able to explain the difference between rider-led grassroots planning and top-down planning efforts.

The time commitment

Fellows should be ready to work with PPT & PhillyTRU to start their organizing immediately, beginning April 10th. The work will be part-time, and can be structured around other work or family commitments, but must be planned to achieve the goals listed below. Below is a general timeline of the campaign with expected duties/hours.

April

April 10th, from 11-1pm Fellowship Orientation– all Fellows will join for an orientation and planning call with Pittsburghers for Public Transit and the Philly Transit Riders Union

April 10th to April 27th Canvassing and Turnout– Fellows will host 5 canvass days (2-3 hrs each) to distribute masks to transit riders and build relationships by identifying local transit issues. The goal will be to build a regional contact list of a minimum of 100 local transit riders and 100 transit supporters. Organizing staff from Philly or Pittsburgh will travel to be present in-person to train fellows on canvassing and organizing. Fellows should recruit/train volunteers, and follow-up with new contacts. The fellow will work to turn out all new contacts to the statewide rider/worker strategy meeting on April 28th.  PPT and/or PhillyTRU organizers will provide in-person and virtual support to help the fellow in establishing a process for the canvasses, volunteer recruitment and follow-up.

April 28th, 7-8:30pm Statewide Grassroots Transit Summit– Fellows and the local riders who they have organized will join for a historic statewide call of transit riders and workers from across PA. Riders and workers will use the call to build a grassroots transit funding platform, and sketch out a strategy for winning improvements at the state and local levels.

May – July

Strategy and Advocacy for Grassroots Transit Funding Platform– Fellows will continue recruiting volunteers & developing leaders to facilitate weekly mask distributions. Fellows will continue follow-up calls to contacts. 

Fellows will join a weekly statewide leadership call, and a bi-weekly statewide rider call, to stay up to date in executing our campaign.

Fellows will organize local riders to plan and participate the public launch of the grassroots transit funding plan for PA. Fellows will also plan local actions and meet with local elected representatives to present demands and win their support.

Fellows will keep up frequent communication with PPT and/or PhillyTRU.

The compensation

Compensation will be $20/hr, with an expected minimum of 50 hours of work over the 4-month period. Travel costs and equipment reimbursements will be provided as needed.

Applicants can apply by filling out the google form application here, by emailing answers to the application questions to josh@pittsburghforpublictransit.org, or by sending your answers via mail to PPT at  5129 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh PA 15224.


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