On Saturday, February 4, Metro Transit is going to join organizations throughout the country in promoting public transit as both a civil right and a strategy to combat climate change.

Transit Equity Day is a national day of action commemorating the birthday of Rosa Parks by declaring public transit as a civil right. Parks was an NAACP activist who in 1955 demanded an end to segregation in the Montgomery, Alabama transit system by refusing to give up her seat on the bus. Her act of civil disobedience helped spark the Montgomery bus boycott as well as lawsuits that resulted in the 1956 federal court ruling that bus segregation was unconstitutional under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment. Later in life, Parks received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award of the United States, from President Barack Obama, along with the Congressional Gold Medal.

Transit Equity Day is organized by the group Labor Network for Sustainability. They connect this act of resistance to the rights of all people to transportation that runs on clean renewable energy to confront the ongoing climate crisis.

Metro Transit plans to participate in Transit Equity Day and celebrating Rosa Parks by reserving a seat in her honor on a number of buses on Saturday.

Metro’s new network of routes has been designed to provide high-quality frequent service and increase transit equity throughout the region. New routes speed up long trips to the community’s periphery neighborhoods and reduce excessive waiting and transfers. This is expected to significantly increase access to jobs for people of color and low-income residents. On average, access by people of color will increase 115 percent, and access by low income residents will increase 92 percent.

In 2024, Metro will continue these efforts by launching a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which will make it even easier and more convenient to travel throughout the community. Metro’s new BRT will improve transit reliability, shorten travel time and through the use of larger articulated buses provide more seating capacity on a single bus.

In addition, as part of the City of Madison’s commitment to clean renewable energy use, Metro has purchased 46 electric buses to be used on the system. Transit equity truly is a hallmark of Madison’s public transit system and as a City we strive to make our services better for all Madisonians every day.

More information on Transit Equity Day can be found at labor4sustainability.org/transitequityday. To learn more about Metro’s redesign and future BRT system, visit mymetrobus.com/redesign.


Metro Transit