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For Immediate Release

Contact: Eric Mann (213) 387-2800

Channing Martinez (213) 544-2894

Bus Riders Union Rejects the Growing Police State on L.A. buses and trains

We believe the primary problem on MTA buses and trains is police violence

We also acknowledge the significant and growing acts of violence by some MTA passengers against fellow passengers and drivers

But we reject the movement by Mayor Bass the LA Metro Board, and SMART lock up the drivers, create mass hysteria against MTA passengers, and expand the already brutal police state on buses and trains

We are caught in a dilemma. The Bus Riders Union is completely against surging the Metro buses and trains with police, as Metro has proven that they only plan to target Black and Latinx passengers with tickets and arrests. (See our website to see how Black and Latinx people have been targeted over the last 12+ years) But at the same time, there have been extreme incidents by some passengers targeted at both Metro operators and passengers that are the direct results of years of racist policies.

But also, for our 30 years, many riders have told us they feel challenges from operators that has never been addressed.

The problem on the buses is they are late, too expensive, and over-policed. People cannot afford the fares and are criminalized for being poor and Black or Latinx. And then when passengers board the system, Metro operators and even janitors are instructed to treat passengers like inmates in a maximum-security prison.

Mayor Bass, who has expressed concern for the houseless, is falling into the police logic that the oppressed people are the problem—we need more police to insult, beat, arrest, and possibly shoot those suffering from hunger, mental health problems, and the effects of racist city and county policies  and practices.

In fact, the Mayor has stated that she plans to surge the Metro buses and trains with state violence from Metro Police, LAPD, LA Sheriffs and Long Beach Police in co-operation with the Metro Operators demands.

In addition, the Metro Operators Union and the CEO are working on a new MTA police department and to encase operators in a bullet proof shatterproof cage as they operate public buses.

This will serve to create a police state on the Metro buses and trains in which operators will now operate buses from the equivalent of a prison cell, and Black and Latinx passengers will be subject to further criminalization.

In such an emergency situation, it’s appalling that Mayor Bass and CEO Wiggins can find money in the budget to surge the system with police-State Violence, but can never seem to find the Metro wallet when it’s time to address the root causes of issues happening on Metro buses and trains.

The Bus Riders Union sees this as an emergency call to action for the very soul of the city

We call for emergency policies to be implemented immediately including:

  • Hire 500 community ambassadors to work on Metro buses and trains to de-escalate situations. This includes hiring 150 by December, and all 500 by July 2025.
  • No glass cubicles for Metro Operators – Don’t turn Metro buses into a maximum-security prison
  • Convene an emergency task force of organizers, bus riders, operators and Metro staff to come up with a plan to change the hostile environment of the Metro. This task force should report back to the board in two months and have the ability to raise motions at the Metro board of directors’ meetings and Metro committee meetings
  • Implement an immediate moratorium on fare collection, refund all current tap card balances until further notice.
  • Mayor Bass must immediately re-instate the eviction moratorium in the city of Los Angeles
  • LA County Board must divest 50% from the LA County Sheriff’s Department and invest those funds into the LA County Department of Mental Health to significantly expand the Mental health crisis hotline
  • Move all mental health related services out of police departments
  • Surge the Metro system with 1 million hours increased service beginning with an immediate increase by 100,000 hours by December 500,000 hours by December 2025 and 1 Million hours by December 2026
  • We reject any police on the buses & trains.

We have met with the mayor and called for Free Public Transportation, an end to all ticketing and arrests, no police on MTA buses and trains, and an expansion of 500 additional transit ambassadors with roots in community organizations and non-violent conflict resolution. We hope that given the time place and conditions, Mayor Bass and the MTA board will step back from their disastrous police state solutions, listen to the grassroots groups who have been demanding no police and more transit ambassadors, and work with movement groups to fix the long-term effects of racist policies on Metro buses and trains.

Join the Bus Riders Union at the next Metro Board of Directors meeting

Thursday March 21st 2024 at 10am

Public Comment Instructions:

Live public comment can be given by telephone or in-person.

The Board Meeting begins at 10:00 AM Pacific Time on May 23, 2024; you may join the call 5 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.

Dial-in: 202-735-3323 and enter

English Access Code: 5647249#

Spanish Access Code: 7292892#

Written public comments must be received by 5PM the day before the meeting.

Please include the Item # in your comment and send it to