SANTA CRUZ—About 100 people called for an increase in accessible and sustainable transit choices across Santa Cruz County during a miles-long march across the westside of Santa Cruz on Feb. 4 as part of a national movement named National Transit Equity Day.
Toting signs such as “Don’t Be Frail, Build the Rail,” “Rail Trail Now” and “Fund Transit Now,” the group walked from Swift Street along a section of the newly opened Rail Trail to Bay Street, then to West Cliff Drive where they ended at Lighthouse Point for a rally.
“Right now this country and this community doesn’t have a robust public transportation system,” said Lani Faulkner who organized the event alongside Michael Wool. “It’s something that is so essential to equity, to justice, to our environment and to labor. There are so many aspects that public transportation serves us and other countries know that. But we don’t have the momentum in terms of being able to overturn efforts by governments and corporate interests that come together to undermine public transportation.”
Faulkner said the emerging movement for transit equity was, in part, a result of the challenges imposed by the pandemic.
“But that crisis just ramped up during Covid because a lot of essential workers just couldn’t get to work and a lot of students couldn’t get to school,” Faulkner said.
Speakers included Watsonville City Councilmember Vanessa Quiroz-Carter and candidate for Santa Cruz County 4th District Supervisor Felipe Hernandez, a current trustee on the Cabrillo College Board.
Transit Equity Day is meant to commemorate Rosa Parks, a Black woman who refused to give up her seat on a bus to a white person during the days of segregated bussing.