Bus Riders United



Siggy Meilus, organizer of Bus Riders United


Bus Rider United is a coalition group that the Labor Education Center helped form with the Community Economic Development Center and the two unions of bus drivers and bus maintenance workers in Fall River and New Bedford (ATU 174 and 1037).  Ultimately the bus riders organized, with organizational supporters, and spoke with a united voice.

Bus Riders United represents hundreds of bus riders in the Fall River, Dartmouth, and New Bedford area and has the following current coalition partners:

Arnold M. Dubin Labor Education Center ·Amalgamated Transit Union Local 174  · Amalgamated Transit Union Local 1037 · Community Economic Development Center of Southeastern Ma · Coalition for Social Justice · Hands Across the River Coalition

Siggy Meilus, former UMass Dartmouth student leader and current organizer for Bus Riders United, began this work as a paid intern of the Labor Education Center.  She wrote this summary of recent work:

Bus Riders United in 2014

Goals worked on:

Rider leadership development

Evening service expansion/retention  

Sunday service

Public Transit Public Good work/ Statewide legislation to implement a new Comprehensive Service Assesment (CSA)

Organize to add Rider representative to the Southeast Regional Transit Authority Board (SRTA)

Bus service to seafood processing plants in New Bedford



            Evening service pilot program becomes a (SRTA) budget line item

            Rider seat appointment

            SRTA CSA – Bus Riders United  (BRU) on steering committee of CSA

            New Bedford bus route #5 Rivet St. rerouted to serve riders going to Price Rite and the southend water front route   


Breakdown by seasons

Winter 2014

-CSA steering committee begins

-CSA public hearings in Fall River and New Bedford

-Met with UMD student organization, MASSPIRG, talk about getting involved in the spring, possible work on university funded bus pass

-Presented CSA document with the coalition, Public Transit Public Good, at Massachusetts Association of Regional Transit Authorities meeting

Spring 2014

-May 20 rally to keep evening service

-SRTA Board votes to keep evening service pilot program becomes SRTA budget line item, through SRTA communities increasing local assessments May 22,2014

-CSA meetings

-CSA public hearings in Fall River and New Bedford

Summer 2014

-CSA Public hearings

-SRTA eliminates suburban shuttles

-Offical Bus Rider seat appointed to SRTA after legislative action, filled by BRU organizer, Siggy Meilus

-BRU new coalition member: Hands Across the River Coalition

Fall 2014

-Based on CSA , SRTA reroutes Fall River routes #6,9,10 on October 13, 2014

 -SRTA releases final CSA draft

-began working on expanding the New Bedford #9 route which connects New Bedford, to UMass Dartmouth, to Fall River

-rider testimonies are given at SRTA board meeting in Fall River

-BRU riders in Fall River meet with state Representative Schmid to gain support for expanding #9 route

- BRU coalition meets with Erik Rousseau, SRTA manager

Winter 2014/15

Based on CSA, SRTA reroutes the New Bedford route #5 Rivet St., to cover riders traveling to Price Rite and the  southend waterfront, including the seafood processing plants on December 15, 2014


 Brian Pastori of Bus Riders United advocates for better service at Fall River Government Center, with former Mayor Flanagan of Fall River on the left and Gary Pires and Tony Sousa of the Amalgamated Transit Union, New Bedford Local 1037 on the right. ‌