Contending that the Metropolitan Transportation Authority failed to properly evaluate the impact of major transit service changes to determine if they were "discriminatory," the Federal Transit Administration today ordered the agency to review changes and cutbacks it has made since December 2009.
Metro officials insisted, however, that the FTA letter did not find any new violations and did not document any actual civil rights violations.
The MTA bus lines 130 and 232 serve Hermosa Beach.
According to a Metro statement, agency officials will meet with the FTA on May 7 to "review the methodology'' it must use to conduct the review of service changes.
"Metro must receive approval from the FTA for the methodology prior to
undertaking this new requirement," according to the agency. "... Metro will
comply (with) all FTA directives and expeditiously complete the analysis being
The FTA letter said federal authorities made "disturbing findings" in their review of Metro's operations, including a failure by Metro to comply with federal requirements for analyzing service changes to ensure they do not discriminate against certain riders based on "race, color or national origin" before they were implemented. Metro also ignored its own definition of a "major service change" when identifying cuts that were subject to the civil rights review, according to the FTA.
The letter noted that Metro had made "notable progress" in addressing past concerns that have been raised as part of the ongoing federal review, which was prompted by a 2010 complaint by the Bus Riders Union alleging that Metro was prioritizing rail service over bus service to the detriment of low-income communities.
While a great deal of work has been done, a great deal more work must now be done to ensure that the cumulative effects of multiple service changes did not in any way violate the civil rights of Los Angeles transit riders," according to the FTA.
Sunyoung Yang, lead organizer for the Bus Riders Union, lashed out at the FTA for not coming down harder on Metro and finding that the agency had violated civil rights of riders.
FTA is ignoring the smoking gun uncovered by its own civil rights team,'' Yang said. "Rather than hold Metro responsible, (the FTA) is allowing the agency to paper over its civil rights abuses through more studies to make its civil rights violations disappear through administrative sleight of hand."