APTA Transit News
November 30, 2005
For Immediate Release
Contact: Virginia Miller
(202) 496-4816
[email protected]
Transit Agencies Nationwide Pay Tribute to Rosa Parks on December 1
It All Started on a Bus 50 Years Ago
U.S. public transportation agencies are joining together to honor Rosa Parks in a National Transit Tribute to Rosa Parks Day. Thursday, December 1, 2005 marks the 50th anniversary of Parks' refusal to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama bus.

"To honor her, public transportation agencies nationwide are participating in a National Transit Tribute to Rosa Parks Day on December 1," said American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President William W. Millar. "The core principles of equality and access are principles that the transit industry firmly embraces as we serve our riders each and every day."

While each transit agency will be honoring Rosa Parks in their own way, many are choosing to reserve a front bus seat in her honor. Other activities include: keeping bus headlights on all day, displaying interior and exterior posters about her; free rides; bus wrappings in her honor; proclamations by transit boards; press events with local, state, and federal officials; community activities with local chapters of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO) and local schools.

Some transit agencies are participating with unique, educational events. Just prior to a showing of a 40-minute documentary on Rosa Parks at a local cinema, the Metropolitan Tulsa Transit Authority (Tulsa, OK) is going to unveil a permanent emblem in her honor that will be installed on all Tulsa transit buses under the first seat window. Omnitrans (San Bernardino, CA) is sponsoring a poetry contest for students and the winning poetry entries will be put on buses in February. Other agencies are partnering with schools, including Lane Transit District (Lane, OR), which is asking middle school students to create posters that will become part of a quilt, and Transit Authority of River City (Louisville, KY) which is sponsoring an editorial competition. In Philadelphia, children from the Penn Charter School will write tributes to Rosa Parks on the special exterior panel of a new Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) bus that will go into service on December 1. At Laketran (Lake County, OH), there will be a re-enactment of Rosa Parks' civil disobedience and riders will be able to talk with "Rosa Parks" to learn more about her experience.

"Fifty years ago, Rosa Parks' refusal to give up her seat on a bus sparked the modern Civil Rights Movement," said Millar. "Her courageous act of civil disobedience changed the course of history and inspired millions. In 1997, APTA had the honor to award her with the first APTA Lifetime Achievement Award."

Among the cities and counties that are participating in the December 1 transit tribute are: Ann Arbor (MI); Atlanta (GA); Austin (TX); Baltimore (MD); Boston (MA); Bremerton (WA); Broward County (FL); Buffalo (NY); Canton (OH); Charlotte (NC); Cincinnati (OH); Cleveland (OH); Columbus (OH); Concord (CA); Connecticut; Corpus Christi (TX); Dallas (TX); Denver (CO); Des Moines (IA); Duluth (MN); Eden Prairie (MN); Erie (PA); Fort Worth (TX); Grand Rapids (MI); Kansas City (MO); Knoxville (TN); Lake County (OH); Lane (OR); Lexington (KY); Logan (UT); Louisville (KY); Lynchburg (VA); Memphis (TN); Modesto (CA); Montebello (CA); Montgomery (AL); Montgomery County (MD); Muncie (IN); Nashville (TN); New Jersey; New York City (NY); Oklahoma City (OK); Olympia (WA); Orlando (FL); Philadelphia (PA); Phoenix (AZ); Pittsburgh (PA); Pompano Beach (FL); Port Huron (MI); Portland (OR); Prince George's County (MD); Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill (NC); Reno (NV); Richland (WA); Richmond (VA); Sacramento (CA); Saginaw (MI); Salt Lake City (UT); San Antonio (TX); San Bernardino (CA); San Diego (CA); San Francisco (CA); San Mateo County (CA); Santa Monica (CA); Seattle (WA); Snohomish County (WA); St. Louis (MO); Tallahassee (FL); Tulsa (OK); Tucson (AZ); Washington (DC); West Covina (CA); West Palm Beach (FL); Wilmington (DE).

APTA is sponsoring the National Transit Tribute to Rosa Parks Day. On Monday, December 5, 2005, APTA Chair and Miami-Dade Transit Deputy Director Ronald L. Barnes will participate in a U.S. Department of Transportation workshop in Montgomery, Alabama that will focus on transportation equity and celebrate the legacy of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

APTA is a nonprofit international association of more than 1,600 member organizations including public transportation systems; planning, design, construction and finance firms; product and service providers; academic institutions; and state associations and departments of transportation. APTA members serve the public interest by providing safe, efficient and economical public transportation services and products. APTA members serve more than 90 percent of persons using public transportation in the United States and Canada.