Poughkeepsie, NY – Last week, the Federal Transportation Authority (FTA) announced that they found no evidence of a civil rights violation towards bus riders of color in the City of Poughkeepsie.
Community Voices Heard (CVH) had filed a complaint that the transfer of bus service between the City and the County would result in a significant reduction in service and would have a disparate impact on the basis of race, color, or national origin. CVH argued that neither the City nor the County provided a substantial or legitimate justification for the changes and that the analysis conducted by the County was flawed.
The City’s 2016 decision to terminate its public transportation services and transfer the responsibility to the County directly impacted thousands of Poughkeepsie residents. Furthermore, it is apparent that this arrangement disproportionately affects communities of color. This decision was made without conducting a service equity analysis and against the voices of the Poughkeepsie’s surrounding neighborhoods.
“Community Voices Head is disappointed in the FTA’s decision, but we will not be deterred. As an organization, we will continue to fight for bus routes to be restored to Northside Poughkeepsie residents. Public transportation serves as a lifeline for thousands of these residents, and it is disheartening to see the local government not work to ensure those needs are met. CVH will amplify the voices of those affected and see that this decision does not silence them,” said Aufa Atta-Mensah, Esq., Executive Director, Community Voices Heard.
“The County avoided Title VI liability by abandoning its original plan to replace 55 streets with 22 streets. Those changes were made after the pushback from Community Voices Heard members and the previous Common Council. As Common Council Member At Large I will work with my colleagues and CVH to make sure bus rider transportation needs are met,” said Poughkeepsie Common Council President Ann Finney.
“We will keep fighting in spite of the FTA decision. Beginning March 3rd, CVH members will begin monitoring the new bus routes and meet with County transportation officials to ensure an effective public transportation system is in place. Every city deserves a transportation system that serves its people equally. Poughkeepsie will not be the exception,” said Karlton Jones, Poughkeepsie Bus Rider, and CVH member.