LA Metro Cut Services, Violated Civil Rights

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An editorial in Los Angeles Spanish-language newspaper La Opinión argues that the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA) had "no excuse" for failing to protect the civil rights of minority passengers when it cut services on certain bus routes.

In a letter to the MTA, Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Chief Peter Rogoff wrote that he was concerned because after years of litigation, the agency "should be well familiar with the requirements" regarding civil rights.

"We all have the same concern," write editors of La Opinión, "without knowing whether what happened was caused by incompetence, apathy or bad intentions."

The MTA cut more than 650,000 hours of service without looking into the impact its bus route changes would have on minority passengers. The move, which violates Title VI of the Civil Rights Act, reflects what editors call "MTA's irresponsible attitude in making decisions about cuts based on route profitability and ignoring its mission as a public bus transportation agency in a city like Los Angeles."

Federal authorities are now demanding that the MTA review the route changes it made in December 2009 to determine whether they have had an unfair impact on riders.

"Unfortunately," editors write, "the MTA has zero credibility when it comes to serving its minority customers."

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