Shut­ting down pub­lic tran­sit is un­fair to Chicagoans who need it most

Chicago Sun-Times - - OPINION - Send letters to letters@sun­times.com.

Pub­lic tran­sit pro­vides ac­cess to op­por­tu­nity for thou­sands of work­ing-class Chicagoans. Buses, trains, para­tran­sit and bike-share ser­vices con­nect peo­ple to their jobs, health care ap­point­ments, gro­cery stores and fam­i­lies. When all that’s taken away, rid­ers are cut off from where they need to go, or forced to pay much more for a taxi or ride-hail trip.

The re­peated evening and overnight shut­downs of CTA, Divvy, and para­tran­sit ser­vice in the down­town area set an alarm­ing prece­dent. City of­fi­cials are mak­ing this call with­out pro­vid­ing the pub­lic a clear un­der­stand­ing of why se­verely lim­it­ing mo­bil­ity across the city is nec­es­sary.

They say this is part of a broader strat­egy to “pro­tect Chicago com­mu­ni­ties and neigh­bor­hood busi­nesses,” but they don’t ex­plain how shut­ting down tran­sit helps achieve their goals.

The de­ci­sion-mak­ing process is nei­ther trans­par­ent nor in­clu­sive. Think of the Rose­land res­i­dent who rides the Red Line down­town to work the night shift in build­ing main­te­nance or se­cu­rity. Or the Garfield Park res­i­dent who takes a Divvy bike to work the early shift at a Loop cof­fee shop. Or the Avon­dale res­i­dent who rides the Blue Line to work overnight at a down­town health care cen­ter or nurs­ing home. Or the Chi­na­town res­i­dent with a dis­abil­ity who needs para­tran­sit for any planned and un­planned trips out­side the home.

Black and Brown peo­ple — who are more likely to ride tran­sit and less likely to work a 9-to-5 job — are dis­pro­por­tion­ately im­pacted. The city’s most vul­ner­a­ble res­i­dents with­out ac­cess to a car suf­fer the most.

Cut­ting off tran­sit op­tions for thou­sands of Chicagoans can­not be­come a reg­u­lar, ac­cepted prac­tice. Amy Rynell, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor, Ac­tive Trans­porta­tion Al­liance

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