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Bus riders rely on transit because they can't afford a car, share a car with family or are unable to drive because of disability or age.

Women are a majority of these bus riders. Many women, particularly women of colour, need public transit because they are concentrated in low-wage, night shift, temporary, part-time work, and have a lot of family responsibilities. They need reliable, affordable, and 24 hour public transit. As TransLink privatizes transit services, women have to deal with high fares, poor service and barriers to our ability to get around.

As a public service, transit should be designed to meet the needs of the people who depend on it. Women deserve an affordable, reliable and accessible bus-centred public transit system. TransLink’s record of fare increases and cuts to bus service to pay for contracts with private companies illustrates that TransLink does not prioritize the needs of transit dependent women.

The current transit system does not meet the needs of women and prevents women from having equal access to employment, public services and meaningful participation in our communities. This is especially damaging to women of colour, Aboriginal women, recent immigrants, seniors, women with disabilities, students and youth who already face discrimination in other aspects of their lives and have a greater need for public transportation.

The Bus Riders Union, a grassroots organization with over 900 members, is fighting to put the needs of bus riders, particularly women, at the centre of transit planning and public policy. The BRU has developed a vision of a woman-centered public transit system based on the concrete recommendations we have collected from hundreds of transit-dependent women. We are working to have women’s recommendations implemented by organizing to win more buses and lower fares. As working class women, fighting together for change is the only way we have ever won improvements in our public services!

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