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Thursday, 27 August, 2009 2:39 PM

Detroiters vent their frustrations about bus cuts inside Rosa Parks Transit Center

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A public hearing was held about the proposed bus cuts inside the Rosa Parks Transit Center on Aug. 25, 2009.

by Garrett Godwin
ggodwin82@yahoo.com

 

(Quicktime Video)

DETROIT -- Stop The Buses! That is what could be done if Dave Bing and the Detroit City Council have their way, as they and the Mayor of Detroit propose starting September 26 to cuts the weekend services of the Detroit Department of Transportation (D-DOT), which includes no buses after 6 p.m. on Saturdays, no Sunday services, and elimanting several routes such as Chalmers (#9), Conant (#12), Fort (#19), Grand Belt (#20), Oakland (#36), Michigan (#37), Puritan (#39), Russell (#40), Schoolcraft (#43), Southfield (#46), Tireman (#47), Vernor (#49), Holbrook, Wyoming (#54), and Imperial (#78).

"I ride the Oakland bus, I ride the Russell bus," said Katherine King, a Detroit resident who takes the bus to her job at the Detroit Medical Center. "Just as I spoke just recently up there at the forum, it's very important that they keep these lines going because Oakland and Russell those are major lines to get to the Detroit Medical Center. If your children get sick, our seniors need to get to their doctor's appointments, that is very important. They were telling us they have compassion now they need to really show it."

However, these cuts may be starting this weekend, with the recent layoffs of the 113 bus drivers that do the weekend runs, angering those who work at Comerica Park, Ford Field, and Hockeytown -- especially when it comes to working Tigers and Lions home games.

"People's lives don't stop at 6 o'clock on Saturday night," said Transportation Riders United director Megan Owens to The Metro Times last weekend. "They need to get to work, go grocery shopping, go to church."

Public hearings are being held this week, which include two meetings during the day (10 a.m. to 12 p.m.) and during the evening (6 p.m. to 8 p.m.). The most recent hearing was at the Rosa Parks Transit Center out on Michigan Avenue and Cass. Bus drivers represented not only themselves, but also their Local 24 union.

"I'm concerned about what's going on here downtown," said Olumba-John Olumba, a Democratic candiate for Charter Commission who attended the meeting. "I'm concerned about city services being cut. I have a serious problem with cutting any integral city service. Adam Smith wrote in The Wealth of Nations that people need certain things in order for a society to grow in wealth. Taking away our transportation is a serious mistake in terms of regular plain economic theory."

The next meeting will be at the Southwest District Neighborhood City (7400 W. Vernor) Wednesday, followed by the Northwest Activities Center (18100 Meyers) the next day. Besides the meetings, you can contact Mayor Bing's office at 313-224-3400, and let him know how you feel about him making these drastic steps, which may include you and your loved ones such as your children being the victims of crime, or worse living a life of it. As much as there is politics and corruption within office, the police department, and the system, it's an even bigger injustice to cut down the bus services, with the potential of crime going up in Detroit at the hands of our youth, who needs the bus to go to school so they can get an education, use their minds, and have a future, not a death sentence.

"I've been riding the bus since I was eight years old," said Krystal Cryttendon, a Detroit resident who takes the bus to her job at Comerica Park. "Now that I'm 25, it is affecting everybody in our community. To me it is time for the city of Detroit to wake up. The residents of the city must wake up. We have to stand up for what's right. If it means fighting for our bus services, then that's what we have to do. We already have a high rate of crime here. But if they cut the bus system, it's going to be a higher rate of crime. There are senior citizens that don't have the money to afford a car."

If Bing's proposal goes through after September 26, people will be waiting for the bus a little bit longer as well as may have to take a cab on the weekends, which will eat up their salary. The possibility of these cuts will affect the employment of retail workers that takes the bus everyday to go to work, with the risk of losing their job in the process.

"Whoever told him to shut down the DDOT from 6 o'clock Saturday through Sunday not only needs to be fired, but they need to put them before a firing squad," political consultant Adolph Mongo told The Detroit Free Press last Wednesday. "Why would you lock down thousands of people when you don't have retail or grocery stores in the city? People have to take the bus to work. Bing lives in a gated community and has a chauffeur. He certainly doesn't get it."

There are three questions Mayor Bing, the city council, and us the people need to ask ourselves: where are the Rosa Parks and the Martin Luther King, Jr's. of the world today? What would they do? The battle of civil rights, social justice, and equality must be fought once more, as we may enter into a Depression if this proposal for bus cuts is enforced.

"In order for me to get to work, I have to catch the bus," Katerine King said. "Those people are not really in that situation so they really don't care. They have the power to make a difference. They should make a difference. If he [Bing] is in the city of Detroit, he is supposed to be for us. He is supposed to be for the city of Detroit."

But the first question we must ask is "What Would Jesus Do?". As the son of God came to serve God and people, so should Dave Bing as Mayor, so should the City Council, and so should we, the people of the Motor City known as Detroit.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Charles Beckham, Mayor Bing's Chief Admistration Officer, addresses the crowd.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Detroit Mayoral Candidate Tom Barrow tells the crowd to settle down.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

Charles Beckham outlines the proposed cuts but says a final decision has not been made yet.

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A protestor holds a sign that reads, "What Would Rosa Parks Do???"

 

PHOTO BY JASON RZUCIDLO / ©AMERICAJR.com

A representative from DDOT discusses the proposed changes.

 

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