Transit Equity Day, formerly known as Rosa Parks Day, was celebrated on Feb. 4. Here’s what agencies across the U.S. did to honor the occasion.
RTS Kicks Off the Celebration
Regional Transit Service (RTS) CEO Miguel Velázquez and City of Rochester Mayor Malik Evans were joined by Urban League of Rochester President Dr. Seanelle Hawkins to celebrate Transit Equity Day.
To pay homage to Parks on her birthday, RTS announced the following efforts:
- Transit Equity Day Wrapped Bus: RTS bus wrapped with imagery of Parks to celebrate her life and legacy throughout Black History Month.
- Seat Reserved for Rosa Parks: RTS reserved a seat on each of its 400 buses for Parks from Friday, Feb. 2, through Sunday, Feb. 4. Each reserved seat included a placard with a brief description of Transit Equity Day and a QR code to a Transit Equity Day video produced by RTS.
- Free Fares on Sunday, Feb. 4: RTS offered free fares to customers on RTS Connect in Monroe County on Transit Equity Day (Sunday, Feb. 4).
GCRTA Honors Transit Equity Day
The Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (GCRTA) announced it honored Transit Equity Day, a national day of action that commemorates the birthday of Rosa Parks while reminding us that public transit is a civil right.
GCRTA GM/CEO India L. Birdsong Terry discussed the agency's goal of supporting diversity in the communities it serves.
“As a public agency, we employ and serve a diverse population. We seek to promote and support diversity and inclusion across all areas of GCRTA and the communities we serve,” said Terry. “We must set an example for others to follow; we must do our part to embrace one another with respect, dignity, and empathy in order to drive positive change.”
L.A. Metro Offers Free Rides
The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro), in partnership with Metrolink, the Los Angeles Department of Transportation (LADOT), Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), Riverside County Transportation Commission (RCTC), and San Bernardino County Transportation Authority (SBCTA) announced offered free rides on buses, trains, and other public transportation services on Transit Equity Day.
Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTC) and all other Ventura County transit operators will offer free rides on Feb. 5.
"Transit Equity Day is a reminder that transit agencies like Metro have a duty to embed equity into everything we do," said Stephanie Wiggins, CEO of Metro. "From offering discounted and free fares for students, seniors, and people with lower incomes, to engaging the public in the design and implementation of our services, Metro strives to ensure that all people, regardless of where they live in LA County or how much money they make, have equitable access to high quality, reliable, and affordable transit services to get to work, school, or wherever they want to go."
StanRTA Reserves First Row Seat
The Stanislaus Regional Transit Authority (StanRTA) announced its participation in Transit Equity Day by designating the first row seat on every fixed-route, paratransit, and commuter bus as reserved in honor and memoriam of Rosa Parks.
A laminated poster was placed on each seat to identify the reserved spot. Passengers were requested to leave the seat empty, but as needed, StanRTA made sure passengers were accommodated.
"StanRTA is committed to fostering equitable and inclusive transportation solutions that enhance the quality of life for all residents of Stanislaus County," said Adam Barth, CEO of StanRTA. "Transit Equity Day provides an opportunity for us to reflect on the progress made in promoting equitable transportation access while acknowledging the work that still lies ahead."
CATS Announces Two Days of Fare-Free Service
The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) announced fare-free transit service on Saturday, Feb. 3, and Sunday, Feb. 4, in observance of Transit Equity Day.
These days of fare-free service were a tribute to the lasting impact of civil rights activist Rosa Parks and her role in promoting equity and accessibility in public transportation. It was also the kickoff of CATS’ celebration of Black History Month.
"As we honor Transit Equity Day, CATS is proud to offer fare-free service as a tribute to Rosa Parks' enduring legacy. Her act of courage on a Montgomery bus in 1955 was not just a stand against racial injustice but a powerful call for equitable access in all areas of public life, including transit," said CATS Interim CEO Brent Cagle. "By eliminating fares on Feb. 3 and 4, we reaffirm our commitment to creating an inclusive, accessible public transit system that serves every member of our community. We invite everyone to join us in this celebration of equity, justice, and the spirit of Rosa Parks, a civil rights hero."