February 8th, 2018
Our Don’t Criminalize Transit Riders coalition delegated County Executive Rich Fitzgerald on Thursday, January 18th, to call on him to take a public position opposing fare enforcement policing on public transit. Nearly 30 riders went to his office at the County Courthouse; we were met by six police officers, and were refused an opportunity to speak to him. A full year has passed since this policy of policing and criminal charges for fare evasion was passed. We demand that he listen to his constituents, and call for civil fare enforcement agents and civil consequences at Port Authority!
Later that afternoon, members of Casa San Jose, the Alliance for Police Accountability, the Thomas Merton Center and PPT showed up for a big rally at the Gateway Center T Station, where we demanded that Port Authority Build Ridership, Not Barriersto life! There was a wall of $300 fines, and beautiful birds with messages like “Transportation not Deportation”, and May Day Marching Band played rousing music to celebrate the tearing down of the wall.
We got amazing press in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette as well as WTAE news, with new CEO Katherine Kelleman responding, “On a day when a coalition of groups will hold a pair of rallies against armed enforcement of fare payment on Port Authority vehicles, the new head of the transit agency said reviewing that proposed policy is her top priority.”
When we fight, we win! We’ll be planning next steps in the coming weeks around this issue, so stay tuned in for updates on the campaign.