Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Transit Equity Day, Feb. 4, 2020 in Charleston, SC

Transit Equity Day, Feb. 4 in Charleston, SC

Update- We need to interview people who were passengers on the bus service run by Esau Jenkins in Charleston, SC or on the sea islands  during the civil rights movement. If you were a passenger or know someone who was, please contact William Hamilton at (843) 870-5299 or email

Transit Equity Day is on Tuesday, February 4th to honor Rosa Parks on her birthday. Her act of resistance by refusing to give up her seat on the bus in 1955 was a catalyst for the civil rights movement. It affirmed that everyone has the right to equal access to public transit. The principles that guide our work for transit equity and justice today are set out in the statement below.

In Charleston our observance will focus on recognizing our own local Transit Heros: Mary Bowers, who forced desegregation of Charleston’s horse drawn streetcars in 1867 and Esau Jenkins, who operated a transportation system with buses during the Civil Rights movement that brought rural residents to educational and employment opportunities and provided lessons in voting rights and citizenship on board.

Some transportation agencies mark a seat with a sign remembering Rosa Parks on this day, making her a symbolic presence on one of their buses. We hope CARTA will consider doing this.

National Transit Equity Day Declaration 

Public Transit provides basic mobility for many in our communities.  It is also essential infrastructure – just like roads, bridges, tunnels and utilities – that is crucial to the economic, social and environmental well-being of all regions.

Everyone has a right to a public mass transit system that includes:

  1. Safe, reliable, environmentally-sustainable and affordable transit that is accessible to all, regardless of income, national origin, race, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion, or ability.
  2. An affordable public transit system that reliably connects people in all communities to the places we need to travel: home, work, school, places of worship, shopping, health, and recreation in as efficient, and timely a manner as possible. We must ensure that all communities have access to transit. No community should be left behind. Providing public transit in rural, less densely populated communities poses special challenges that must be addressed in any master transportation plan.
  3. Living wages, benefits, safe working conditions, and union rights for transit workers, including those who manufacture transit equipment, and access to family-sustaining transit jobs and training opportunities for people from underserved communities.
  4. A just transition for workers and communities who are dependent on our current automobile and highway-centered transportation system, to ensure that no one is left behind as we transition to a more public, accessible, and cleaner transit-based system.
  5. Rapid transition of our transit systems to electrified, non-polluting transit powered by electricity from renewables. This transition should be made for school buses also.
  6. Safe, healthy and livable neighborhoods that are connected by public transportation and by bicycle pathways and sidewalks, and that are planned to expand safe access to transit and reduce single occupancy vehicle miles traveled.

For more information contact: William Hamilton, or
(843) 870-5299.

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