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Transportation Strike

August 01, 1994

Day 3 of the infamous bus strike (July 27). My day in Koreatown started at 5:30 a.m. with a 25-minute walk to the nearest operating bus line. For a 60ish disabled person with limited mobility, this was literally a pain in the rear end. After a 45-minute wait, the bus came, and we were all jammed together like sardines. An amateur "dip" tried to steal my wallet as he alighted from the overcrowded bus, but I managed to thwart him. After a two-hour combination of shank's mare, MTA bus, Red Line and DASH bus, I finally arrived at my Little Tokyo office at 7:30. It is normally a 40-minute ride on the MTA. The work day had just begun, and already I was exhausted.

As a member of a union myself, I am supposed to support the striking mechanics. But isn't it strange, I haven't the least bit of sympathy for this greedy bunch, who are paid more than I am.

RICHARD NAGLE

Los Angeles

Early last Monday morning I needed to go to the hospital. I then learned that MTA workers were on strike. I couldn't afford the $30 cab fare. I turned on the radio for some sort of information--stations that might give commuters emergency information as to alternate means of getting to their jobs . . . or hospitals. Nothing--as usual on the talk shows--nothing but drivel. And nothing, as well, from the print media. My God, you ride a bus here in openhearted L.A. and you are of low class indeed--that's all too apparent.

Well, I had to get to the hospital, so I stuck out the thumb. Watch them whiz by! Until a red light. "There's a transit strike, I need to get to the hospital!" I yelled to the idling 'mobiles. Giving me the finger would have been a better response than what those people gave me: total indifference.

But, along came Jose. He pulled over, and since there were four other people at the bus stop desperate to get to their jobs, although they stood separate from me, he took them along too. Their work places were en route to his destination, but he went out of his way to get me to the hospital. We all offered him gas money, but he refused. Why? Well, I'd have to say, Jose understood, that's why, unlike the media and those who whiz by without a look to the "small people."

Returning, I wasn't as successful. "Joses" are hard to come by. I finally had to surrender to the attitude, "you're on your own," and use my very last nickel for a cab.

DONALD GARNETT

Los Angeles

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