In spring 2015, UPM joined a coalition of local students, organizers, community members, and faith-based leaders to ensure that local officials use funds from County Measure BB (passed Nov. 2014) to implement a Free Youth Bus program in neighborhoods and schools that are in most need.
UPM youth members helped the coalition win four important demands:
- A FREE youth bus pass pilot program,
- School-based distribution centers,
- Emphasis on low-income students who qualify for free or reduced lunch, and
- Universal bus pass usage for school, after school programs, internships, etc.
UPM youth met with members of the Alameda County Transportation Commission (ACTC), made outreach calls to community members, wrote and performed a skit that highlighted the importance of a free youth bus pass program, marched to demand that their voices as students be heard, and helped apply heavy pressure at ACTC meetings.
As the free youth bus pass pilot program moves into the implementation stage, our coalition has a new set of demands for the ACTC:
- Utilize remaining $13 million Measure BB funds to expand the free pilot program
- Include elementary school children
- Oppose using bus pass funds for other projects
- Prioritize safety by selecting pilot schools in neglected neighborhoods
Safe routes to school, internships, jobs, and after-school programs are essential for any student to thrive. Expanding free youth bus pass programs to neighborhoods hit hardest by urban violence means increased safety and opportunities for Oakland’s youth.