Last night, the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) Board of Directors approved a BART Project Labor Agreement (PLA) to govern work on the initial phase of bringing BART into Silicon Valley. The VTA Board also approved a labor agreement with its unions (SEIU and TACA) and also approved a land purchase near Eastridge Mall in San Jose. The goal of the Eastridge Mall land purchase was to rebuild and reconfigure the Eastridge Mall Transit Center to make it more user-friendly and more accessible for bus (and future light rail) riders going to the mall.
The most disturbing part of last night’s VTA Board meeting came during the “Public Presentations” portion at the beginning of the meeting. During “Public Presentations” two (2) black VTA bus drivers mentioned that 1 passenger had been making racial slurs at them on multiple occasions, and had requested VTA to take action against this passenger.
As a fellow VTA bus passenger who is also black, this disturbs me. It should also disturb other racial minorities as well. Not to be preachy or anything, but we have to learn to respect one another. At minimum, this passenger making these racial slurs must be identified ASAP, arrested by the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, and charged with disturbing the peace. My greatest fear is that, left unchecked and unpunished, this passenger will resort to violence to express his (or her) racial hatred.
If you take any VTA bus or light rail train, and you see someone using racial slurs against another, call it out to them. If you are experiencing this as a bus driver or light rail operator, I would not only contact my line supervisor, but also I would directly call the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office (or VTA Protective Services) and have the offending passenger removed from the vehicle with proper legal charges filed.
If there is one thing that does NOT belong on public transportation, it is racism and disrespect toward others. It not only serves to destroy transit ridership, it also reflects poorly on our society.
Founder, Silicon Valley Transit Users