Senator Dave Min and Stop AAPI Hate Introduce Bill to Improve Ridership Safety on Public Transit
SACRAMENTO, CA — Senator Dave Min and Stop AAPI Hate today announced the introduction of Senate Bill (SB) 434, ‘Public Transit for All: Improving Safety & Increasing Ridership,’ which would require California’s top ten public transit systems to collect survey data as a critical first step towards improving ridership safety, addressing street harassment on public transit, and bringing riders back to public transit.
The proposed legislation builds on the previous Increasing Safety for Public Transit Riders bill, which was signed into law last September, authorizing the creation of a community survey tool for California transit operators to use as a foundation for building data-driven safety solutions.
SB 434 would give a voice to the millions of transit riders throughout the State of California who cannot freely use public transit without fearing for their safety. At the same time, it offers a lifeline to California’s beleaguered public transit agencies, which continue to struggle with record low ridership levels. With qualitative and quantitative data on the state of harassment on public transit, agencies can create data-based safety strategies that will help women and girls, people of color, and other targeted groups feel safe using the largest transit systems in California.
“No Californian should feel unsafe commuting from one place to the next. Period,” said Min. “As we rebuild and reimagine a post-pandemic world, improving public transit should top our list of priorities. I’m proud to introduce this bill in partnership with Stop AAPI Hate to finally address the systemic safety issues that have plagued our public transit systems for too long. A majority of women, elderly, LGBTQ+, and disabled Californians experience street harassment or worse while using public transit. It’s time we step up and give public transit providers the tools necessary to keep all passengers safe.”
Street harassment is a serious problem for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in California and nationwide. A report by Stop AAPI Hate shows that out of the 11,500 hate incidents reported during 2021 and 2022, 67% of anti-AAPI hate incidents involved harassment, such as verbal or written hate speech or inappropriate gestures. It also disproportionately impacts other underrepresented communities, including women and girls, people of color, and members of the disabled and LGBTQ+ communities — leading millions of people to feel unsafe in the same communities where they live, work, and play.
“We must recognize the harmful effects of street harassment and we have to treat it as a public health issue because it impacts the health and wellbeing of so many people – especially women,” said Cynthia Choi, co-founder of Stop AAPI Hate and co-executive director of Chinese for Affirmative Action. “Our bill sends a strong message that we do not have to accept street harassment as an inevitable experience. Effective, preventative solutions exist — we need our elected officials to prioritize and implement them. We thank Senator Min and other partners who have joined us in calling for public agencies to take concrete steps towards understanding and addressing this widespread issue.”
The new bill is part of the larger No Place For Hate California campaign, which represents an ongoing effort to shift the burden of confronting harassment away from targeted individuals and toward public agencies. In 2022, Senator Dave Min and the California API Legislative Caucus joined Stop AAPI Hate and a diverse coalition — including 80+ community-based organizations — in calling on the state of California to address hate and harassment where it happens most.
“This latest bill is an important step in our fight for safer, more equitable communities for all” said Choi. “We look forward to continuing our work with a range of partners nationwide to ensure that public spaces, including public transit, are safe and accessible to everyone.”
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