We’re pleased to help our riders celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month, which begins today and runs through October 15. Our region is, of course, heavily influenced and informed by Hispanic culture — as is Metro as an agency.
To wit: 45 percent of Metro employees are Hispanic. In our most recent customer survey, 57 percent of our riders were Hispanic. About 49 percent of Los Angeles County’s people are of Hispanic origin.
•Our new commemorative TAP cards will be available at select TAP vending machines on all of rail lines, the G and J Lines and Metro Customer Centers starting Friday morning; click here for locations and hours of the Customer Centers. This is part of a series of TAP cards that we’ve been releasing over the past year to celebrate our region’s incredible diversity.
•Looking for something to read while riding Metro? The L.A. Times has compiled a list of 11 books by Latino authors that cover a wide variety of topics and themes. Check it out. And if you’re looking for a bookstore, here’s an LAT list of 65 of them in our region — with most reachable via transit.
•One of the big events is the East L.A. Mexican Independence Day Parade & Festival this Sunday, Sept. 18. The parade runs on Cesar Chavez Boulevard between Gage and Mednik. The L Line’s East LA Civic Center Station is .5 miles from the beginning of the parade route and the Indiana Station is .4 miles from the end of the parade route. Friendly reminder: a bus shuttle is replacing L Line service between Union Station and Pico/Aliso Statiton due to Regional Connector construction.
•Metro Art continues to offer a diverse range of artworks and cultural programming to engage communities throughout Los Angeles, including:
–This great performance by Mariachi Las Colibri at Union Station in 2021:
–Artist Yolanda Gonzalez in conversation with Metro Art and a virtual tour of We Are…, a countywide exhibition of Metro rider portraits that is a partnership between Metro Art and AARP.
–Artists Laura Vazquez Rodriguez and Stephanie Mercado in conversation about the Metro Art Silver Linings project and the importance of connecting with and caring for one another.
•Speaking of performances, our friends at Metrolink have a Mariachi train this afternoon. Deets below:
•As many of you know, we have several transit projects in the works that will serve heavily Hispanic communities in L.A. County. A partial list:
–The East San Fernando Valley light rail project that will run between Van Nuys and the Sylmar/San Fernando Valley Metrolink Station, including new stations in Panorama City, Arleta, Pacoima and Mission Hills.
–The Regional Connector that will allow Metro to run trains directly from East L.A. into the heart of downtown L.A. — no more having to transfer at Union Station to the subway.
–The Purple (D Line) Extension that will greatly speed up transit service along the Wilshire Corridor and will connect Hispanic communities west of downtown L.A. to the Miracle Mile, Beverly Hills and Westwood (including UCLA and the VA campus).
–The soon-to-open first section of the K Line light rail between the E (Expo) Line and Westchester/Veterans Station serving the Crenshaw Corridor and Inglewood.
–The Vermont Transit Corridor to speed up transit service between Hollywood Boulevard and 120th Street. We’ve studied both bus and rail options.
–An extension of the L Line from East LA to Commerce, Montebello, Pico Rivera and Whittier.
—The NoHo to Pasadena project to build a new bus rapid transit line between North Hollywood, Burbank, Glendale, Eagle Rock and Pasadena City College and another project to improve bus service across the northern San Fernando Valley.
–The West Santa Ana Branch light rail project that will build a light rail line between Artesia and Union Station — with new stations serving Bellflower, Paramount, Downey, Cudahy, South Gate, Bell, Maywood, Huntington Park and Vernon.
–The Rail to Rail walking/bike path between the K Line, J (Silver Line) and A (Blue) Line in Inglewood and South L.A., as well as the L.A. River Path project to close the eight-mile gap between Elysian Valley and Maywood.
–Check out some of the project maps below.
•One of our affinity groups at Metro is the Advancing Latinos at Metro Association (ALMA), which works to continue to increase diversity and culture awareness and help support Latino employees. Metro continues to make a concerted effort to foster an inclusive culture at the agency; here’s a Metro staff report that explains how we about this and why (short answer: we think ultimately it helps us provide more equitable projects, programs and services).
•As part of our Metro Connect program, Hispanic-owned businesses have been awarded over 500 contracts as a prime contractor or a subcontractor totaling $235.7 million in just the past two years. There are also 652 Hispanic-owned firms that have been certified to do business with Metro.
This is part of Metro’s ongoing efforts to have a fair, inclusive, and competitive procurement program that gives a wide variety of contractors and vendors the opportunity to help build Metro’s growing system. If you are not registered as a vendor with Metro, please take the time to register. It is free to register and it’s a necessary step before Metro can do business with you.
We are working to expand our opportunities. For example, our Small Business (SB) Prime is Metro’s breakthrough initiative that paves the way for small businesses to bid and win contracts as prime contractors. SB Prime enables you to compete for certain contracts – up to $5 million – against only other small businesses. You must be SBE certified by Metro to participate in the program.
•Hispanics, of course, have long played a prominent role in our local transit systems. The forerunner to the current ALMA affinity group was HIT, Hispanics in Transit, at the RTD. The RTD and CTC merged in 1993 to form Metro. Here’s an article in the RTD employee newsletter on HIT.
•Much of the work by Latino track workers so many decades ago continues to provide transit rides today. Both the Pacific Electric and Los Angeles Railway that operated streetcars and rail lines in our region hired Latinos build their rail lines. In turn, many of those old lines were eventually bought by Metro and parts of our A (Blue), E (Expo), G (Orange) and L (Gold) Lines are built atop the PE and LAR lines.
•For a deeper dive into the legacy of Hispanic transit workers, see this article that appeared in Pacific Electric’s magazine in 1928. Not exactly language we may find acceptable today, but a look at a very different time.
•You probably are not familiar with the name Vic Muniz. But he was one of the early Latinos promoted into management on our local transit systems — something that is routine today, but wasnot in the past. Check out the article either online or below from the RTD’s old employee newsletter.
A huge thank you to Metro’s Dorothy Peyton Grey Transportation Library and Archive for their help assembling this blog post. Visit their website at site at https://metroprimaryresources.info/. The library’s collection and their Flickr photography site is an incredible resource for anyone interested in transportation and related issues in our region.