CA: Lateefah Simon leads BART board on track to social justice

By Rachel Swan : masstransitmag – excerpt

For years, Lateefah Simon was an ordinary transit rider — the unflinching single mom who dropped her daughter off at 7 a.m. each weekday, then scrambled to catch a BART train. Now, she helps set an agenda for the regional rail system.

Jan. 19–For years, Lateefah Simon was an ordinary transit rider — the unflinching single mom who dropped her daughter off at 7 a.m. each weekday, then scrambled to catch a BART train. Now, she helps set an agenda for the regional rail system.

“With all these decisions BART is making, the board needs a legally blind, black, single mother,” said Simon, whose acute nearsightedness prevents her from driving. She was elected president of BART’s Board of Directors in December, signaling a political shift for the transit agency.

Throughout its history, BART offered respite from the problems outside. This year it’s confronting them head on. A more progressive board is pressing for low-income fare discounts, civilian ambassadors to supplement the police force, housing on station parking lots and parking prices that dissuade people from taking their cars. They’re considering far-reaching ideas, like making transit free for everyone — something that 42-year-old Simon hopes to see in her lifetime… (more)

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