Add $95 to my annual transit fees. UC Irvine will no longer offer free bus passes to students. But this is one small part of a much larger debacle.
I know Orange County harbors a lot of ill will toward immigrants, and the poor, and anyone who isn't an American Dream success story, but I didn't think administrators at the Orange County Transit Authority (OCTA) would be ignorant enough to actually propose eliminating bus service here. I was wrong.
What do these people think bus service is for? Do they understand that public money pays for every mode of transportation in some way? Where do they think the money for their freeways comes from, Carrie Prejean? Or maybe their church offerings every week?
The utter selfishness of suggesting something that would make life immeasurably harder for people who already struggle in this closed county shows how un-Christian, un-American, and ultimately inhuman people here can be.
Fortunately I'm not alone in my indignation and outrage. There is a group that has formed around transit advocacy in Orange County. Since I found out about the fare increases, service cuts, and potential total elimination of public buses in Orange County starting from a note on Metrolink's website this morning, I've read a bit of the Transit Advocates of Orange County's blog. What a relief that there are some rational minds lobbying for fairness in this mess. I'll have to add attending their meetings to my list of things to do. Also, their website lists upcoming public meetings with OCTA staff and board of supervisors.
We all need to get around public spaces to get to work, consume endless amounts of garbage from big box stores, and get back home again to watch television for hours. Just because someone uses a public bus instead of a public freeway to do so does not mean she has less rights to that service than the freeway user does. In this case the cultural differences that allow the dominant group here to think of bus riders as menacing undocumented walking stereotypes blow my mind, and make me want to cry.