This week we heard from two transit union representatives – Corey Gallman, Recording Secretary of Amalgamated Transit Union’s NJ State Council, and Jerome Johnson, General Chairman/President of Smart-TD Local 60, representing New Jersey bus and train workers respectively at NJ Transit. ATU and SMART joined us on the series last summer to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on their members. Today, both unions came back to share updates on PPE, cleaning and other safety measures, on-the-job violence that transit workers face.

We were also joined by Janna Chernetz, Tri-State Transportation Campaign’s Deputy Director and Director of New Jersey Policy. Janna shared statistics revealing the disparity in returning ridership between inter-city and commuter buses and trains during the pandemic — proving that while many white-collar workers are able to work remotely, large numbers of essential workers still depend on public transit to get to work. Janna spoke about the Bus Rider Bill of Rights as a vehicle for transit equity – a document now proposed as NJ state legislation that declares the rights of all riders to affordable, accessible, reliable and safe bus service. More than 78 people attended this webinar.

Janna also spoke about Transit Equity Day – a national day of action coming up this Thursday, February 4, to commemorate the birthday of Rosa Parks by declaring that public transit is a civil right. Tri-State and partners are celebrating Transit Equity Day with a digital community town hall. Register here, or reach out to Berenice Tompkins (btompkins@njwec.org) or Kevin Garcia (kevin@tstc.org) for more information. This event will include live English-Spanish interpretation.