Bus Riders Union

Documentary about an activist group called the Bus Riders Union. Their focus is on improving the public transportation system in Los Angeles. The bus system there is in a sorry state. Busses are overcrowded. A rider will routinely see three busses pass her by, completely full, before being able to board. Handicapped riders find that the lift system on most busses is broken. Many riders need to take three or more busses to arrive at their destinations, and late night service on some routes is discontinued without any notice. On top of this, the MTA was planning a massive fare increase and focusing their energy on subways and trains that are costly and benefit mainly upper class white people. The B.R.U. views this struggle over Los Angeles busses as the new civil rights battle. The bus system is utilized almost exclusively by minorities and low income residents. Since the busses are so unreliable, workers are not able to predictably arrive on time and therefore have trouble holding jobs. This means that an already disadvantaged segment of the population is being further held back. Kikanza Ramsey, B.R.U. organizer, describes her organization as “an experiment to see if we can create a multi-racial, bi-lingual, gender-balanced mass movement of working class peopleĀ.” The tape follows the legal struggles of the group throughout the 90’s as they battle with the city and the MTA for service improvements. Continue reading