Transit Stories: Martha Escobedo

Los Angeles, CA Bus Rider

My name is Martha Escobedo. I’m a mom to two wonderful daughters and work as a caregiver in Los Angeles. I’m involved with a number of non-profit organizations and have been a volunteer with MOVE LA for the past six years. I always tell Eli and Marisa from MOVE LA whenever they need a volunteer, just tell me, and I’ll go. 

Right now, for work, I’m assisting my friend’s mom, who has Alzheimer’s. I have been taking care of her for about one year. I work the graveyard shift and am at her house from 7 pm to 11 am. I can get back and forth from my place to hers by riding both the metro and the bus. I really love to walk and take the bus.

I had a stroke, which meant I had to stop driving. I rely on the bus every single day to get me around town. Public transit makes a huge difference in my life. 

One of the things that I wish Metro would do a better job of is advertising programs that help families get around town. They have a really important program called the LIFE program, which helps low-income families. It gives them a bus pass for their first three months for free. After that, they get twenty passes per month for free. This is so important for many people that just don’t have the extra money to leave the community and get to work. 

The area I live in is unincorporated. When we have an issue with Metro, we can’t just call up a city councilor. We have to deal with the County Supervisors. The County is collecting a survey to get input about how to spend money on the Metro system. The problem is that even if we come up with good ideas, they always say there isn’t enough money in their budget to do so. 

The buses only run every hour. If you miss the bus, you have to wait another whole hour to catch it. I wish they had more frequent service. Also for me, I don’t travel during rush hour, so the buses aren’t very full. But the buses during rush hour can be crowded. The 110 and the 111 during rush hour are jammed. People are packed in like sardines. Having more frequent buses would really help with that. 

I really hope that more people understand that we need the bus system. We don’t have the option to drive. Insurance is too expensive. Owning a car isn’t doable, it’s just too much for people to afford. We also have a lot of people in our community that are day laborers. They work from 6 am to 7 pm every single day. These families depend on the bus. They can’t always get access to programs like the Life Program. That’s a shame because they really need the help. They work so hard. It’s the least we can do for them. 

I know that the Director of LA Metro is trying their best. They are always asking about ways that the bus and metro system can work better. I hope they keep asking bus riders what they think is needed to make it better.

I just hope that our country puts more money into expanding service. Without the bus, many of us wouldn’t be able to survive. 

About Transit Stories

Transit Stories” is a series of real-life experiences with public transit in the U.S. We feature the first-hand experience of public transit riders from across the country. From large cities to small towns, we will document the experiences of the millions of users of busses, trains, ferries, and other forms of public transit in the US. Public transit is essential to our communities, to cooling the planet, to advancing equity. Transit is essential to our very lives.

There is a unique opportunity for the country to make a historic investment in public transit funding to help the country build back better. 

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