TAKE ACTION: Join us in testifying at TriMet’s next Board Meeting on January 27th to share your input on the selection of the next General Manager.
From policing and public safety on transit to regionwide YouthPass and expanding bus service, the General Manager is in charge of the day to day and big picture goals and priorities that dictate everything TriMet does or does not do — and the right candidate will shape the creation of an accessible, affordable, equitable, and climate-friendly transportation system that serves our community.
Historically, needs and voices from transit dependent riders, youth, low-income, and Black, Indigenous and Peoples of Color communities have been excluded in decision making. Recently, concerns raised by us and others include the need to shift away from diesel and climate change inducing fossil fuels, make fares affordable if not free, end racially biased fare enforcement and sweeps, create true transit safety, and expand service to help rebuild transit ridership in the wake of the COVID epidemic.
A new General Manager can mean that the voices in our communities can be heard, uplifted, and acted upon.
It’s essential that the next General Manager will heed the calls from the community for access, service improvements, affordability, and addressing climate change. They must also address racial justice in policing and in our transportation system, by exploring the call for presence of culturally-specific and unarmed TriMet employees on transit and following through on stopping fare sweeps, and moving resources away from policing and toward community programs.
We as members of the Getting There Together Coalition just invested three years working collaboratively with TriMet and other regional agencies to create a community-supported vision through the Let’s Get Moving 2020 Transportation Measure. Despite the impact of COVID on people’s lives and livelihoods, our community have consistently showed up and spoke up for the need to create a regional YouthPass, to shift away from dirty diesel buses on an accelerated timeline, to divest from armed transit policing to address issues of safety and security, and to expand bus service to meet the community’s needs. With the recent failure of Measure 26-218, these needs remain and it is all the more urgent that our region can count on leadership at TriMet to collaborate with community leaders on a bold vision to address needs and tackle decades of disinvestment in a regional transportation system.
People who actually use the system must have a say in the process and decision of who is hired to manage our regional transit system. It must include those whose livelihoods depend on whether the bus gets to work on time. It must include all of us who have a stake in the health of our transportation system, our communities, and our future.
We are asking the TriMet Board of Directors for fair representation in the process and call for the Board to intentionally create an inclusive, transparent, and public hiring process with meaningful participation from community members.
- Build a hiring process that brings forth candidates with experiences serving the most transportation underserved and transit dependent riders, and creates space for transit priorities beyond choice ridership, including racial equity, connecting people to jobs and essential services, supporting transit operators, public safety reform, equitable transit oriented development and affordable housing, climate emissions reductions, and improved air quality.
- Embark upon a broad, nationwide search, with deliberate efforts to reach transit professionals who have success with both improving and expanding service in an equitable manner.
- Guarantee public opportunities for engagement of candidate finalists prior to a hiring decision being made. Community deserves to know all the final candidates and the potential they can bring to our community.
- The agency’s commitment to equity and inclusion should lead to meaningful involvement of internal and external stakeholders, including internal advisory committees such as Trimet’s own Transit Equity Advisory Committee (TEAC) and Committee on Accessible Transportation (CAT) to participate in the review and selection process.
- Ensure opportunity for participation from community members who want to be part of the candidate recommendation process through an interview panel with candidate finalists for input prior to a hiring decision being made.
Whoever is eligible and selected for this important role will have an enormous impact on the accessibility, affordability, equity of our transportation system and the lives of people in our community.
Community accountability matters.
Join us in testifying at TriMet’s next Board Meeting on January 27th starting at 9am, and by contacting your TriMet Board of Director representative to share your input on the selection of the next General Manager.