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The regional transit agency is seeking feedback on increasing equity throughout its system.

COURTESY PHOTO: TRIMET - TriMet is responding to the racial justice movement.TriMet is reaching out to the public, its riders and others to help reevaluate the regional transit agency's safety and security systems in response to the racial justice movement.

The project is being undertaken in partnership with the Coalition of Communities of Color and the DHM Research polling firm. Outreach will include an online survey that will launch on the agency's website on Monday, Aug. 17.

"Recent events of racial injustice, including the killing of George Floyd and too many others, have led to the call for lasting change in policing. In response, TriMet is re-evaluating our approach to public safety and security as we make our transit system better — more safe, welcoming and equitable for all," TriMet said when announcing the project.

"We want to bring more voices into the conversation as we reimagine public safety and security on our transit system," TriMet General Manager Doug Kelsey said of the project. "Transit, in and of itself, brings social equity to a community, providing access to opportunity, connecting people from all races, religions and economic levels to jobs and education. We also want to ensure the security on our transit system is fair and free of bias as we address the needs of all our riders and employees to feel safe."

Additional activities will include virtual town halls and listening sessions hosted by Coalition of Communities of Color beginning Monday, Aug. 24, and invitation-only focus groups led by DHM beginning on Sept. 21.

TriMet also will research national best practices in equity and transit security, and will enlist a third-party analysis of security challenges facing the region, as well as the types of issues that riders experience on board our buses and trains.

Others involved in the project will include community groups, local leaders and the agency's frontline workers and security officers. TriMet also will engage its Transit Equity Advisory Committee, the TriMet Safety & Security Committee and its Committee on Accessible Transportation in discussions.

"The comments we receive, along with research and analysis on national best practices, will help guide us moving forward," TriMet said.

By the end of September, TriMet expects to convene a Transit Safety Advisory Committee of regional leaders on community and equity, as well as national transit security experts. The committee will use the feedback gathered, the research results and the analysis findings to develop recommendations that will advise the General Manager on opportunities for approaches to transit safety and security that incorporate equity.

TriMet said it already has taken many steps in recent years to increase equity. They include: reallocating $1.8 million in funding from traditional police services and other sources on July 1, 2020; changing its code in December 2018 to clarify that fare evasion by itself is not a crime but a violation, similar to a parking ticket; initiating a change in Oregon law to now offer a way to resolve fare citations at lower cost and outside the courts; and more.

The online survey will be available at trimet.org/publicsafety.


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