Access to frequent and reliable transit provides people more freedom to meet their daily needs, or to get to work or school without needing access to a vehicle. So, Metro Transit has made a commitment to providing equitable access to high-quality transit.
An analysis shows the agency is delivering on that promise.
The 2021 Service Equity Evaluation shows that residents who identify as Black, Native American, Asian, Hispanic, Other or Pacific Islander, or multiple ethnicities have slightly more access to transit than residents identifying as white. Black and Native American residents have greater access to high-frequency transit and can reach a larger number of jobs in a reasonable amount of time using transit.
The evaluation showed small differences in service reliability across racial groups and noted that these differences could be reduced as the pandemic subsides and schedules are adjusted to better match operator availability.
In addition, the evaluation found that pandemic-driven scheduled service reductions had less of an impact on non-white residents.
“Our most direct way to support equity is by reviewing and adjusting the service we provide,” said Kristin Thompson, assistant director of Service Development. “That’s why taking a careful look at how we provide service and who it can benefit is an important and necessary step to becoming more aware of potential areas for growth.”
In addition to the Service Equity Evaluation, many other steps are being taken to further incorporate equity into service decisions. For example:
- Staff document how race, income, vehicle availability and job access are considered when making scheduled service changes.
- When customer surveys are conducted, extra efforts are made to ensure those who will be most affected by decisions that will be informed by the survey are heard from.
- Service improvements like bus only lanes, bus stop consolidation and traffic signal priority are being focused on routes that serve areas with higher percentages of BIPOC and low-income residents, renters, and low-wage jobs.