COVID-19 has put into sharp focus the monumental role public transportation plays in our society and the disparities that currently exist in access to safe and reliable service. Public transit has been a lifeline to our communities and to essential employees like healthcare workers and first responders who provide critically important services.
Transit service in many cities has been reduced as a result of the pandemic’s impact on ridership, which has left many riders stranded and without reliable transportation. Among the people who are harmed most by those reductions are front-line employees who rely heavily on transit to reach their jobs. The pandemic has also impacted transit employees who, amid challenging circumstances, keep our trains and buses running. These everyday heroes of the pandemic deserve not just our thanks but our support. To those front-line workers and our own Keolis employees: thank you.
In coordination with our partners, the work to improve transit and restore service to communities that depend on it most will continue across the nation in 2022. As the population and our workforce continues to become more diverse, it is critical that equity of service and access remains a priority. More than 75 percent of Keolis North America passengers have diverse backgrounds. To best serve our existing consumers and workforce, Keolis will continue to work towards providing equitable transit services for all. Part of that work means ensuring our own teams of people reflect the passengers we provide service to. (For more information on this work, please visit our diversity page).
Today, Friday, February 4, marks the birthday of civil rights activist Rosa Parks, who is remembered for her refusal to surrender her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama a mere 66 years ago. Her refusal ignited the Montgomery Bus Boycott, which led to a nationwide victory that ended racial segregation on public transportation. Today we acknowledge and celebrate Rosa Parks on her birthday, and her bold act of courage and activism through Transit Equity Day.