Hampton Roads Transit will be observing Transit Equity Day on Monday, February 5, by offering free fare on all bus, light rail, ferry, and paratransit services. This is the second year HRT has offered free fare on Transit Equity Day in honor of the late civil rights activist Rosa Parks, whose birthday is February 4.
On Thursday, December 1, 1955, Parks refused to give up her seat in the “colored” section of the bus to a white passenger after the “whites only” section became full. “People always say that I didn’t give up my seat because I was tired, but that isn’t true,” Parks said in her autobiography. “I was not tired physically … no, the only tired I was, was tired of giving in.”
Parks’ actions led to her arrest, resulting in the Montgomery, Alabama bus boycott, inspiring other initiatives, and advancing the civil rights movement. In November 1956, the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment ruled bus segregation unconstitutional, later ending the bus boycott.
Hampton Roads Transit will honor the enduring legacy of Rosa Parks by keeping bus headlights on all day. In memory of her contributions to public transit, a seat will be reserved at the front of all buses with signage honoring her courageous acts.
Public transit plays an important part in providing access to quality jobs, education, and essential services. Transit Equity Day is a National Day of Action to bring attention to the importance of investing in public transit for the benefit of all citizens.
Transit Equity Day is one of four free fare days offered this year, including Earth Day (April), Juneteenth (June), and Election Day (November). Hampton Roads residents are encouraged to join HRT and experience the convenience of public transit on us.