We are at the cusp of two years of my tenure at San Francisco Transit Riders and throughout that time our staff and board have been occupied with the big fights and the everyday pursuits to further our mission. Almost organically, that work and our agency have also evolved into our Strategic Plan that will remain our north compass through 2025 and that I am excited to share with you in the midst of our ongoing transit month celebration.
San Francisco Transit Riders is the city’s only member-led, grassroots advocate for excellent, affordable, and growing public transit. We believe empowering everyday transit riders to speak up for rider-first policies will bring us the world-class transit system we need for an equitable, livable, sustainable, and accessible San Francisco.
Writer Kafui Attoh has stated that fights for transportation justice are rarely over transit access alone. These fights invoke the need to protect and enhance community values: vibrant neighborhoods, clean air and water, participatory politics, equitable distribution of resources, and public spaces where we are free to speak, gather, play, create, and organize. The transit improvements we have won reflect the priorities of our members who advocate for improved speed and reliability for riders. In Kafui’s words, they have exercised their right “to be at the heart of urban life.”
With this understanding in our heart, SFTR is working to gain the trust of riders throughout the city to build political power and a rider-led vision to secure more transit funding and advance transit priorities that directly address community needs. We are ambitious about changing hearts and minds on how public transit service works and ultimately in making transit agencies more accountable to community members. We must understand the ways in which racist systems have harmed underrepresented communities in the past and actively resist making those mistakes again. Only then can we equitably rebuild public transit, increase service, and revamp outdated infrastructure.
As we look ahead through 2025, SFTR plans to increase our impact, enlarge our membership and reach, and fight for San Francisco transit’s response to the needs of current and future riders across the city. We envision a system that is responsive to transit rider feedback and plans improvements with rider needs in mind. We envision a system and city officials who are open and willing to collaborate on efforts to build a pro-transit culture in San Francisco. We are working to build a transit system that leaves no one out, and addresses the perceptions from disadvantaged communities of being left out of transit policy conversations for decades. Overall, we envision a world where transit riders come first, and policy is based on riders’ needs. We are doing and we will do this by community building among riders and transit organizations and agencies. And by empowering residents and riders to shape future transit investments in ways that actually benefit our communities.
To that end, the Strategic Plan has identified four strategic priorities: (i) Organize and empower riders’ voice, (ii) Fight for transit recovery and set groundwork for expansion; (iii) Enhance rider experience by improving transit reliability and travel time; and (iv) Movement building towards positive transit culture.
We welcome critical and constructive feedback that you can offer us, and we hope you will join us in these “fight forward” strategies for in systemic crises that we have seen unfold in the city and region these last few years, only concerted actions through strong partnerships will ultimately be able to save our communities.
Onward!Read our Strategic Plan here!