North Texas Daily

No Bus Cuts rallies at Denton County Administration, calls for better action

No Bus Cuts rallies at Denton County Administration, calls for better action

No Bus Cuts rallies at Denton County Administration, calls for better action
June 17
11:00 2022

Local activist group No Bus Cuts Denton held a rally outside the Denton County Administrative Courthouse on Thursday, June 9 to bring awareness to the growing disapproval of the Denton County Transportation Authority’s organization of public transit.

Over a dozen members of the group gathered to discuss problems with Denton’s public transportation and held a press conference to give members of the community an opportunity to voice their frustrations. The rally occurred a day before DCTA’s public comment period ended, as many members of No Bus Cuts felt the city’s community relations regarding bus routes had been ineffective.

Many were inspired to gather after a 99-year-old Denton resident gave his testimony at a community meeting back in May, where he shared he had to walk over 2 miles after a GoZone car dropped him off on the side of the road.

“Part of the problem with transportation in Denton County is that the people who are making decisions on public transportation do not ride public transportation,” said Kristine Bray, transportation advocate and owner of the Denton Transit Posting Twitter account during the press conference. “They might try to take it once a year as a photo-op, but they do not use it — even for a week just to get around. If they did, the problems with our transportation system would become pretty obvious.”

A few speakers were union representatives from across the North Texas area who attended the event in solidarity with bus drivers who are losing their jobs as bus routes are being canceled in replacement of GoZone.

“If you’re taking away from your workers, you’re also taking away from your public,” said Marilyn Davis, Regional Field Organizer for Texas American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations.

The AFL-CIO represents over 200,000 workers in the North Texas area, and Davis expressed their organization is sympathetic to the problems bus drivers in Denton are facing.

During the press conference, the group stated the rally would be the first of many if the city does not change its course of action. Many members are anxious that further cuts to Denton’s bus programs will come quickly.

“This is absolutely a workers issue, and you cannot support public transportation without supporting bus drivers,” Deb Armintor, former Denton City Council member, said.

Armintor spoke at the conference about her experience working alongside council members who said they had little interest in supporting public transportation, calling former Mayor Chris Watts’ involvement in GoZone’s implementation “an introduction into how corrupt this was.”

Many at the rally discussed not only their disappointment with Denton’s lack of concern in bus route upkeep but also their distrust in GoZone as a company and its involvement in public affairs.

“Being from [New] Jersey — I mean it’s embarrassing,” Eva Grecco, Denton resident and local advocate, said in an interview with the Daily. “You call this public transportation? It’s still mind-boggling that a public entity is so absorbed [in] a private company. You’re taking millions of dollars away from buses to invest in a private company that’s from New York.”

The press conference ended as members of No Bus Cuts and other organizers joined in chanting, “Union busting is disgusting,” and “When bus drivers’ jobs are under attack, what do we do? Fight back!”

Featured Image: A group of protesters hold up a “no bus cuts” sign on June 9, 2022. Photo by Matt Iaia

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Ayden Runnels

Ayden Runnels

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