December 2 will be a fare-free service day

VIA Metropolitan Transit will offer fare-free service on Monday, December 2, in observance of its first official “Rosa Parks Day,” honoring the Civil Rights icon and the role of public transportation in the modern Civil Rights movement.

VIA joins transit agencies and cities nationwide in designating a day of remembrance for Parks, who on December 1, 1955, was arrested when she refused to give up her bus seat to make room for a white passenger. Her plight inspired civil rights leaders, including Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to organize a bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama, which lasted several months and was successful in efforts to desegregate U.S. public transportation.

The VIA Board of Trustees approved a resolution in February to observe the date each December. Beginning this year, VIA will offer a day of complimentary fares for bus and VIAtrans customers to commemorate the historic event. VIA buses and vans will also keep their headlights on throughout the day to honor Parks’ memory. VIAtrans customers must book their trips in advance, per usual. Because December 1 falls on a Sunday this year, VIA will observe the day on Monday, December 2.

“All public transit agencies have a special connection to Rosa Parks and her legacy that makes it possible for us to provide access to safe and reliable mobility options to everyone in our diverse and growing community,” VIA President/CEO Jeff Arndt said. “We’re proud to recognize her contributions each day with a dedicated seat in every bus, and give people a chance to experience transit, while remembering those who paved the road toward equal opportunity.”

In 2005, VIA began installing a special yellow seat dedicated to the legacy of Rosa Parks in each of its vehicles. Today, over 500 VIA buses have a Rosa Parks seat.