My name is Tyshaun Johnson. I am a senior at Asheville High School, an employee at Ingles market and a part of the youth staff of the amazing nonprofit organization known as Youth Empowered Solutions (YES!). In addition to these things, I am also among the numerous ART transit riders calling for a reform to its operating policies.
I am working with The People’s Voice on Transportation Equality, a group of concerned Asheville area residents that is championing the issue of transit reform in our community. This group, in coalition with various community partners, has gathered information from ART transit riders to get the true “voice” of the people, their actual needs and concerns through a survey completed by over 230 transit riders this summer.
The People’s Voice on Transportation Equality created a 19-point agenda of things that need to be changed based on the responses from the survey. These points are focused on five major areas of change: making sure there is proper representation in decision-making from nonelective riders, making sure that planning prioritizes the needs of the people who use public transit out of necessity, advocating for equality in terms of a clean and safe bus system, supporting policies that are consistent, courteous, transparent and hold everyone mutually accountable and encouraging route reform focusing on the most efficient access for nonelective riders to meet their basic needs.
So how can you, as a transit rider or concerned citizen, get involved? Contact City Council members and the Transit Committee to tell them you support this campaign. Visit justeconomicswnc.org to find out more.
— Tyshaun Johnson
Julie Mayfield, chair of Asheville’s Transit Committee, responds:
The city’s Transit Committee was pleased to receive the 19-point agenda at our Jan. 14 meeting, and we welcome the strong citizen support for improving ART that this work represents. Many of the issues raised in the agenda mirror the Transit Master Plan and Transit Committee’s priorities, and we look forward to working with representatives from The People’s Voice to advance our common goals. Where the agenda raises new issues, we will work together to address those in a way that makes sense for the City and ART riders. Again, we welcome this support for and involvement in improving ART, and we look forward to a positive partnership.