Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) launches Phase II of its Not One More Girl initiative. Also, the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) invites high school students to apply for its Teen Council; NJ Transit begins website ticketing pilot program for Atlantic City Rail Line (ACRL); and the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) reaches a tentative agreement with Transport Workers Union (TWU) Local 100.
BART announced May 31 that on Friday, June 2, the transit agency, along with community-based organizational lead partner the Betti Ono Foundation and The Unity Council’s Latina Mentoring & Achievement Program, will launch a series of pop-up events for Not One More Girl, a community-driven initiative to address sexual harassment on transit.
The launch, BART says, comes at a time when the agency is “boosting its safety presence on trains as a direct response to concerns from riders.“
Launched in 2020, the Not One More Girl Initiative, BART says, uses art, youth participatory action research, cultural strategy, and policy change to “create means of empowerment and dismantle the systems that have enabled gender-based violence and harassment.” According to the agency, rider survey data has indicated the initiative is helping to reduce harassment and improve the perception of safety on BART.
On June 2, BART and organizational partners will kick off the next round of outreach events at Oakland First Fridays. In addition to sharing information and resources about BART and Not One More Girl, the community is invited to participate in the creation of a collective storytelling wall and to share their stories of courage and support in recorded video interviews. The First Friday’s event will be followed by a pop-up at the Fruitvale Farmers Market on Thursday, June 8, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
In the coming weeks, BART and Betti Ono will unveil novel Not One More Girl communication strategies, with an emphasis on safe bystander intervention tactics, as well as a new art campaign by local artist Safi Kolozsvari Regalado that will appear on trains and in stations throughout the system. BART worked with a cohort of local youth from Betti Ono’s Arts and Civic Engagement fellowship program to develop these new tools and strategies.
For this second phase of Not One More Girl, the approach, BART says, is to “deepen the reach and impact of our ongoing work to increase safety in our system.” The current phase of the initiative places emphasis on a “culture of care”—how people may have a greater sense of control in a harassment situation, as well as how fellow riders may provide support when it is occurring. An additional focus of Phase II, the agency says, has been to engage BART frontline workers in the process of addressing gender-based violence in the system.
“By empowering local girls and gender-expansive youth to lead the conversation and develop impactful cultural strategies, the Not One More Girl initiative seeks to challenge longtime societal norms and reimagine the culture of transit ridership to ensure safe passage for all,” BART said.
More information about BART’s Not One More Girl initiative, as well as access to safety tips and resources, is available here.
OCTA announced May 31 that it is accepting applications for its Teen Council, a group that allows high school students to learn about transportation-related topics while providing the agency with valuable feedback on a wide range of projects and programs.
According to OCTA, students selected for the council will serve a one-year term and meet every other month during the 2023-24 school year. The program will have a total of five meetings, with the first beginning in September. Applications, which are open to Orange County high school students, are due by July 14 and can be found here.
“The Teen Council is an important part of OCTA, where members build teamwork, critical thinking, and communication skills while working alongside peers and OCTA staff to develop and implement projects,” the agency said.
In past years, Teen Council members have provided insight on the development of marketing campaigns, including OCTA’s Youth Summer Pass, OC Flex and Taco Transit Tuesday.
Teen Council members attend professional workshops hosted by OCTA staff and are provided with meaningful networking and leadership opportunities. Service on the Teen Council is an asset to highlight on resumes and college applications and time spent on the council may also count toward community service hours.
Teen Council members must be 13 to 18 years old as of Sept. 1, 2023, an Orange County resident and be entering grades 9 to 12 at an Orange County public, private or home school. Along with the application, those seeking to serve on the Teen Council must submit a personal essay and a letter of recommendation to be considered.
For more information and to apply to the Teen Council, visit octa.net/TeenCouncil.
NJ Transit on May 31 introduced a pilot program that will allow customers to buy tickets for travel on the ACRL online at the agency’s website.
NJ Transit rail, light rail and bus tickets can all be purchased through the NJ Transit Mobile App. However, this pilot program, the agency says, expands the option to purchase ACRL tickets directly through the corporation’s website. Customers only need a valid e-mail address and a credit/debit card to purchase tickets from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or even a cell phone with internet access.
Additionally, NJ Transit says this program benefits visitors from outside of the region attending events in Atlantic City or Philadelphia—who may not wish to download the NJ Transit Mobile App and set up an account profile for just one trip. Customers can simply visit njtransit.com to buy their tickets and print them before traveling or bring up the tickets via email on their mobile device and travel with all the convenience of a mobile electronic ticket.
“NJ Transit continues to research and implement new ways to offer additional fare payment options for our customers,” said New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT) Commissioner and NJ Transit Board Chair Diane Gutierrez-Scaccetti. “This new pilot program will give customers another way to purchase tickets and utilize our services, while expanding our customer base to include those who may not have access to the mobile app and may be more comfortable purchasing tickets through the website.”
“NJ Transit is pleased to launch this pilot program that will make it easier and more convenient for customers to buy tickets for the ACRL,” said NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin S. Corbett. “By leveraging technology, we are working to give customers as many options as possible to purchase tickets and passes, and we encourage customers to share their feedback with us as we evaluate its effectiveness and potential expansion to other rail lines.”
The New York MTA and TWU Local 100 have reached a tentative labor agreement, giving roughly 40,000 New York City Transit (NYCT) workers a pay bump of nearly 10% over the next three years, according to a Gothamist report.
According to the report, the deal also gives the workers a $4,000 “essential worker” bonus, a bump negotiated after MTA workers kept the city moving during the pandemic. That bonus, Gothamist reports, will be paid out as $3,000 in hazard pay this year, and a $1,000 bonus next year, according to officials. At least 150 transit workers in New York died of COVID-19.
“These victories, and others you will see in this package, were not easily obtained,” said TWU Local 100 President Richard Davis in a statement. “The MTA took a hardline stance, not wanting to give an inch of ground on wages or benefits. In fact, the MTA wanted us to pay for our own raises and contract improvements through significant concessions and givebacks, including doubling our paycheck deductions for healthcare from 2% to 4%, and expanding OPTO with the removal of Conductors from trains. Those demands were defeated.”
According to the Gothamist report, the MTA’s contract with the union expired less than three weeks ago. “The last time the two sides went to the table in 2019, negotiations dragged on for more than six months.”
MTA spokesman John J. McCarthy said the union is “starting the ratification process with membership,” according to the report.
The MTA provided the following statement: “The MTA and TWU Local 100 have reached a tentative labor agreement. The union is now commencing their ratification process with membership, and during this time, the MTA will not comment on the tentative agreement until the union’s process has concluded. We are grateful for the leadership of Governor Hochul and the New York State Senate and Assembly for passing a budget that secures mass transit, and we acknowledge the hard work and dedication of both negotiating sides to reach this point.”