Have you noticed large Xs on Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority (RTA) vehicles? Sept. 20 is national 'Don't X Out Public Transit' day. People can let their representatives know how they feel at www.supporttransit.org.
For 24 hours, one out of every three RTA vehicles will have a giant X displayed on the side of it to signify potential federal government 'cuts', affecting operations for all transit systems nationwide.
RTA general manager and CEO, Joseph Calabrese, alongside Amalgamated Transit Union (ATU) president William Nix led the painting of Xs on Sept. 19 in the afternoon at the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Transit Center, while the rest of the vehicles were painted in the evenings by various RTA employees.
The 'Don't X Out Public Transit' Rally followed on Public Square on Sept. 20, attended by not only members of the ATU and RTA non-union employees, but also representatives from the Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) and Greyhound, along with the president of the Ohio Contractors Association and RTA customers.
"To someone like me, pubic transit is not an option, but a necessity," said Donna Prease, advocate, Linking Employment Abilities and Potential (LEAP). "I'm proud that I have a job to go to every day, but being in a wheelchair, I wouldn't be able to get there without RTA. It is vital we speak in support of increasing funding, not x-ing it out!"
The transportation authorization bill, which currently has massive cuts to public transit agencies, is up for vote in March 2012.