The Women’s Fund Endorses Issue 7

On Tuesday, March 17th, voters in Hamilton County will have the opportunity to vote on Issue 7, a countywide effort to replace Cincinnati’s earning tax with a 0.8% sales tax in Hamilton County to reinvest in our transportation system.

The Women’s Fund doesn’t endorse often. We consider a variety of factors and considerations before taking a stance on any issue. However, the issues addressed by Issue 7 are deeply tied into our mission and the women and families striving toward self-sufficiency in our region. Continue reading our endorsement below.

The Women’s Fund is proud to endorse Issue 7, the Hamilton County transportation levy, and we encourage you to vote yes! 
Issue 7 strengthens our regional public transportation system, making it more accessible and equitable for all, including women and low-wage workers.
The Women’s Fund works on women’s economic self-sufficiency issues in our community, focusing on education and training, employment, wages and childcare issues. From getting to work on time after day-care drop off to safely arriving home after second or third shift, access to efficient and reliable transportation is critical to a woman’s ability to be self-sufficient.
Issue 7 addresses these factors and so much more.
Issue 7 will make it easier to get to work, expanding Metro access to 20,000 additional jobs and making nearly 350,000 jobs accessible with 24-hour service. This will have a positive impact on our region’s low-wage workers, disproportionately women and people of color, who are more likely to rely on public transportation. Issue 7 will also enable the creation of a fund to provide free or discounted bus passes to eligible low-income citizens, making it possible for them to more easily access the transit system.
Men and women have different mobility patterns and concerns when it comes to public transportation:
Trip Chaining
Most transportation systems were designed to take (predominantly male) commuters directly to and from a centralized employment district. Women are more likely to visit different neighborhoods and engage in “trip-chaining,” or taking multiple trips in a row, such as stopping to care for a sick relative or grocery shopping on the way home from work. Transfer fees can quickly add up.

How Issue 7 will Help: Issue 7’s Reinventing Metro plan will create a single base fare with no transfer fees, and new and expanded routes will provide quicker access to more neighborhoods across the county. Adjustments that will have a positive impact on female travel patterns.
Safety concerns disproportionately affect women in public transportation, especially women working low income and hourly jobs. Women are more likely to be victims of verbal or physical harassment and will change travel patterns or avoid using public transportation altogether because they don’t feel safe.

How Issue 7 will Help: Expanded and more frequent service provided by Issue 7 will decrease wait times and provide more direct routes, reducing the amount of time a rider must stand alone at a transit stop.
Issue 7 is a positive step forward, and we should continue momentum toward transportation equity by prioritizing data collection and tracking. An emerging practice in public transportation, gender-disaggregated data provides important information on how these systems impact communities. As Reinventing Metro is implemented, we encourage SORTA and local transportation advocates to implement gender-disaggregated data collection to better understand and address inequities in transportation usage.
The time is now to address our regional transportation system. Issue 7 does just that, benefiting not just women and families, but our entire community.

The Women’s Fund encourages you to vote YES on Issue 7!

What will this mean for our bus riders?
We first heard about Michelle, a patient aide at a large nursing home, from her HR Director, Joan. Michelle lives just 20-minutes from work but has no access to a car. Because of the hub and spoke layout of our current system, Michelle rides the bus two hours each way; a four-hour commute for her eight-hour shift. Every night when Joan goes to bed, she thinks about Michelle leaving second-shift at 11:00pm and standing alone at the bus stop at midnight. Every night, she hopes Michelle will arrive home safely.

Issue 7 will provide additional crosstown routes with more direct service. So workers like Michelle will get home more quickly, more directly and more safely.