One rail operator is launching a new initiative to respond to an unwelcoming political climate. Last November, a video of a woman ranting about another woman’s ethnicity on a Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) train went viral on social media, prompting the operator to take a new approach to political intolerance. Therefore the operator has launched a “Bay Area Rides Together” campaign. 280 posters have been displayed on their trains stressing that every individual is welcome onboard. The American transit agency is looking to highlight the diversity of their ridership to ensure that every one feels comfortable using their service. “What we’re responding to mostly is the general political climate,” BART spokesman Chris Filippi said. According to Filippi, riders have told BART officials they want them to affirm a welcoming message because of the overall exclusivity. The campaign is not in response to any particular incident, Filippi said.
“This public outreach effort is a direct response to many of the thoughts and emotions that have been expressed to us by our riders,” said Board President Rebecca Saltzman. “They’ve wanted us to reaffirm that BART ( @SFBART ) is a safe place for everybody.”
One of the signs features the word “welcome” translated into more than a dozen languages. Another depicts the rich diversity of our riding public with a collection of raised hands in a rainbow of colours. A third includes an artistic representation of hundreds of passengers that reflects the variety of ages, colours and abilities of the people who ride our trains
The posters are in addition to BART’s social media campaign stating: "All races, colours, religions, genders, ages, veterans, sexual orientations, the disabled and those of foreign national origin are welcome on BART.”
The campaign is meant to reaffirm BART’s core values and the agency’s stand against discrimination. Filippi said the response to the posters, which have been in trains for a couple of weeks, has been “overwhelmingly positive.”
“We hope our riders will rally together and look out for one another,” Saltzman added. The rail operator stresses that harassment and verbal threats of any kind are not tolerated.
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