NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — In honor of Rosa Parks, every seat on Southeast Area Transit or SEAT buses will be free on Feb. 4.
“What an amazing woman she was and it made it…she made great changes for us,” said rider Daryl Gibbs, of Uncasville.
Parks’ birthday has become Transit Equity Day. Posters on each bus explain why she is being honored and why folks are riding for free.
“It’s a great service,” said rider Daniel Port, of Mystic. “I use the bus regularly and it was a wonderful treat.”
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It was in December of 1955 that Parks took a stand by refusing to give up her seat on a Montgomery, Alabama, bus.
Parks was sitting in the so-called colored section of the bus but she was told to move because a white passenger needed her seat and that was because the so-called white section of the bus was all filled up.
Her refusal got her arrested and fined but it also sparked a yearlong boycott of city buses.
“It’s part of the whole civil rights movement,” said Michael Carroll, General Manager of Southeast Area Transit. “Part of making sure we treat everybody equitably and fairly.”
“It’s just a great thing that our society has grown so much from; you know that turmoil,” said Port.
Port was surprised by the free trip, which is also aimed at attracting new riders.
“Maybe give us a shot,” said Carroll. “If they’re a little short on cash or even just to come out and ride and perhaps they might become more regular riders going forward.”
SEAT said public transportation is good for the environment.
“Riding a bus certainly helps promote the environment and reduce tailpipes emissions,” said Carroll.
He also said it’s an economic alternative.
“Figured what a good way to stimulate the economy to get people out and about and save on gas also,” said Gibbs. “Free bus ride can’t complain.”