Transit Justice and the T Riders Union


Zach Ben-Amots

By Zach Ben-Amots

The T Riders Union, or TRU, is a transportation advocacy program sponsored by Alternatives for Community and Environment, a nonprofit based in Dudley Square.

TRU’s mission is to promote the needs of public transit riders and provide a platform for transit-dependent, low-income populations in Boston. TRU serves as a liaison between those riders and administrators for the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, or MBTA.

“We are working to make sure that the riders voice is seen as one of the leading voices,” said TRU organizer Kimberly Barzola. “We view the riders as experts.”

Barzola is currently focused on the MBTA’s upcoming change to a cashless fare collection system. The system, called AFC 2.0, is part of a system overhaul that the MBTA proposed to modernize payment options and decrease waiting time during passenger pick-ups.

However, Barzola is concerned about low-income and elderly riders who do not have credit cards, debit cards or smartphones, which will likely become the only payment options on buses.

“These investments on the T are long overdue, but we don’t want to do it at the expense of riders who are unable to pay electronically,” Barzola told the Boston Globe.