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American Public Transportation Association

 Transit News



Mantill Williams

 First Latina Chair of Public Transportation Industry Reflects on the Dramatic Evolution of Public Transit Serving a Diverse Population

 Statement by Flora Castillo, Chair of the American Public Transportation Association

“As the first Latina Chair of the American Public Transportation Association, I take great pride in where the public transportation industry is today and where we are headed.

From the Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955 led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to serving as the primary mode of travel for those attending the second Inauguration of the first African American President in Washington, DC, public transportation has evolved into a mode of transportation for people from all walks of life.

Many across America will be participating in a day of service to honor Dr. King and public transportation will be there to get Americans to their destination as they unselfishly come to the aid of their fellow citizens.

Beyond serving as transportation mode on the Martin Luther King Holiday, there will be a number of public transit systems participating in activities honoring Dr. King.  Some examples include:

  • The Bay Area Rapid Transit Authority previously held its annual celebration January 15 honoring the life of Dr. King.  This year’s event commemorated the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington.
  • In Austin, Texas, Capital Metro will participate in a parade honoring Dr. King as well as increase the frequency of the transit line that will be serving the parade area.
  • At the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority in Cincinnati, Ohio, the transit agency will dedicate a bus to Rosa Parks and it will be a part of the 38th Annual Commemorative March sponsored by the MLK Coalition of Greater Cincinnati.
  • The Indianapolis Indiana Public Transportation Corporation is sponsoring the MLK day at the Indiana History center providing free admission to the museum.
  • In Orlando, the Central Florida Regional Transport (LYNX) will have a bus wrapped with the graphic image of Dr. King as they participate in the 29th annual MLK parade.

These are just a few examples of how public transportation systems are participating in honoring the legacy of Dr. King on his birthday. 

However, we as an industry pay our highest honor to his legacy as the 400,000 unsung employees of the public transit industry provide day- to-day transportation service to those on all income levels and ethnicities.  We simply help Americans get to work, visit friends and family, make hospital visits or go out on a leisurely night on the town.  Through Dr. King’s brave fight for public accommodation for all, we have created an open nationwide public transit system by the people and for all the people.” 

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The American Public Transportation Association (APTA) is a nonprofit international association of 1,500 public and private sector organizations, engaged in the areas of bus, paratransit, light rail, commuter rail, subways, waterborne services, and intercity and high-speed passenger rail. This includes: transit systems; planning, design, construction, and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; transit associations and state departments of transportation. APTA is the only association in North America that represents all modes of public transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical transit services and products More than 90 percent of the people using public transportation in the United States and Canada ride APTA member systems.


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