AC Transit: The “Rapid” Displacement of Working Class Families

AC Transit bus. (Image source: Ken Der via Alameda Post)

The “Rapid” Displacement of Working Class Families

With the Tempo (BRT) up and running from downtown Oakland to San Leandro, one could take a ride and see the status of the neighborhood. East Oakland has long had a reputation for being “rough,” but it has also been home to many of us. But now with separate lanes, and the land value going up, you can see how that impacts the neighborhood. Higher property value means higher rents, making it harder for already struggling families to stay put. Separate bike lanes are nice, but they weren’t a concern for many people who grew up in these same neighborhoods 10-15 years ago.

It’s not hard for some to see new projects and feel like they are being left out, rather than being handed an upgrade meant to help all the public. Even when a new building is being built to provide more housing, if you can’t afford to live there, you might feel like you’re being pushed out. With the BRT or any other thing in this society, why does ‘progress’ have to get done on the backs of working class people, time and time again?

Appreciation For Every Day Of The Year

With Transit Appreciation Day happening recently, we got a big ‘Thank You’ from management. Maybe a meal if we were lucky, but that’s just about it. It’s like your significant other only gives you a hallmark card on your birthday but ignores you every other day. Many can tell you how good that works out. But what would real appreciation feel like? A day off, some extra break time, or extra hours of pay? Adequate runtime for regular breaks? Access to clean restrooms and break rooms? Wages that keep up with inflation? Coming from a transit worker’s perspective, we front line workers have to do and give up so much day to day to make sure the community keeps running. And we show up to work and keep it pushing, one way or another. While it’s nice to be appreciated for a day, it feels better to actually be valued and thought of as a human and not just a statistic on a moving bus out on the road.