Stand up for Disability Justice in Fort Collins

Published - 4 November 2018

As members of Barrier Buster/ Public Transit Action Group, we advocate for the rights and dignity of people living in our community that have disabilities. We also stand in solidarity with undocumented, unsheltered, and other vulnerable people.

In fact, BB/PTAG was started over 20 years ago when a group of low income, disabled community members, along with CSU students came together to create a community organizing group to push for disability justice and access in Fort Collins. Ever since then, BB-PTAG has made significant gains which benefit not just low income, disabled people in Fort Collins but everyone- this includes Sunday Bus Service, which became a reality only after much solidarity and activism by BB-PTAG for many years, continually pushing City Council to hear our voices and invest in measures that will lessen the burdens of structural ableism and oppression.

From this experience, we can speak to the myriad ways in which Fort Collins’ unreliable and underfunded public transit makes it especially hard for those living in poverty to access jobs, healthcare, quality groceries, and good schools. That is to say- there’s a difference between preference and necessity. Public transportation is desired by many but is even more critical in times like these where particular groups of people must risk being arrested, deported or harassed- just by performing acts of survival, like trying to get to work, or visit your doctor or attend a community meeting downtown.

This Tuesday, November 6th is the last opportunity for community members in the Fort Collins to attend the City’s public hearing on the 2019-2020 Citywide budget.  y.

It is in this tradition that BB/PTAG presents you with our suggested funding offers for the 2019/2020 Fort Collins City Budget. None of the following offers have made it above the line in the City Manager’s Recommended Budget.

If you can- we encourage you to show up at City Council on Tuesday night to speak about the following proposals and if you can’t make it in person- you can email to express your support! 

Public Transportation is about more than just moving people from point A to point B. It’s also a system that can either limit or expand the opportunities available to people based on where they live.

This blog identifies the many benefits to increase funding of a variety of proposals to provide service when people need it, reducing wait times, increasing the availability of bus transfers and improving reliability. These offers also support many strategic initiatives that the city has.

The first budget item is 45.6, which would expand Sunday Service. We are thrilled that Transfort 365 service has exceeded ridership projections by 52%, for a total of approximately 2,000 passenger trips on an average Sunday. Our community deserves expanded Transfort 365 service so that this positive trend can continue both for fixed routes and for paratransit. The Fort Collins Community Action Network is a not for profit organization that has a 501(c)(3) classification from the internal revenue service. Your gift is tax deductible as provided by law.

The second budget item is offer 45.8 2019 which focuses on improving the Southeast Transit Fixed Route and Dial-A-Ride Service. Funding this offer would provide new fixed route transit service and demand response paratransit service (Dial-A-Ride) to a portion of the southeast area of Fort Collins. Currently, there is limited transit and paratransit service in areas south of Harmony Road along College, Trilby and Lemay. Residents and social service agencies regularly request service to the area. This offer would provide access to a fixed route and paratransit for low-income residents in communities such as Province town, clients of social service entities such as Foothills Gateway, senior housing residents, and others living and working along the College, Trilby and Lemay corridors.

Third, offer 45.10 enhances the Dial-A-Taxi service availability.Funding this offer will allow 15 additional Dial-A-Taxi trips per day for Dial-A-Ride customers. Dial-A-Taxi is a supplemental program that provides voucher subsidies for Dial-A-Ride passengers, individuals who are unable to use the fixed route bus system as a result of a disability. The cost of adding 15 additional Dial-A-Taxi trips per day is $109,500 annually. An eligibility process is used to determine if someone is eligible for the service.

Fourth, offer 45.12 will provide additional fixed-route transit service and enhancements along the North College corridor, resulting in expanded transit service on and east of North College. The specific request is to fund two additional buses exclusively operating on North College with 10-minute frequencies, realign Routes 8/81 to east of College, expand Route 81 days/hours of service with 20-minute headways (60-minute on Sundays), and add shelters to existing bus stops.

And next is offer 45.17; funding this offer will provide increased frequencies and more reliable service to several existing Transfort routes. This offer would transform the City’s worst performing routes (6 and 12) into vibrant, dependable routes. Right now, Route 6 is amongst one of the system’s worst performing due to poor reliability, with just 50% of trips on time. Additionally, it would provide for reliable service to the MAX Drake station. Community members would be able to take buses from their neighborhoods to the MAX Drake station, so that the need for a costly and unsustainable parking garage in that location would no longer be necessary.

The last offer we recommend city leaders consider funding is 45.20, which improves bus stops. Funding this offer will provide the necessary resources to continue upgrading bus stops to be accessible and meet applicable federal regulations and design standards. Providing ADA accessible bus stops to the community is the responsibility of the City government, and it needs to be a priority. The Fort Collins Community Action Network is a not for profit organization that has a 501(c)(3) classification from the internal revenue service. Your gift is tax deductible as provided by law.

All of these important offers support the following Strategic Objectives:

- TRAN 6.1 - Improve safety for all modes of travel

- TRAN 6.3 - Improve transit availability and grow ridership

- NLSH 1.7 - Guide development through community planning, historic preservation, and efficient and effective development review

- ENV 4.1 - Achieve Climate Action Plan (CAP) 2020 goals and continue progress toward the 2030 goals

To conclude, the lack of reliability of public transportation has to be addressed, and quickly, especially in the face of growing economic disparity and criminalization of poverty and immigration status. We need to think about how important reliable and accessible forms of transportation are to quality of life for everyone in this town. And we have to prioritize and actually invest in this, not just talk about it.