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Twin Cities' homeless lobby legislature for discounted bus passes

A local homeless advocacy group is spearheading an effort to secure cheaper bus passes for the down-and-out.

St. Stephen's Human Services, a Minneapolis non-profit, hit the streets to collect testimonies from 409 homeless/impoverished residents none too enthused about recent increases.

Organizer's conclusion: hikes in bus fares disproportionately shafts the poor, many of whom rely on public transportation in their job hunts or--let's be real--shelter from the elements.


"Our plan would allow charities that serve homeless to purchase passes [in bulk] for half off," says Josh Lang, Director of St. Stephen's. "We're getting a lot of positive feedback from people within the community."

The push comes in the wake of a 25 cent hike last October and amid chatter of an additional 50 cent increase, which the Metro Council might implement this spring-- a move intended to ameliorate the state's incomprehensively colossal $5 billion-plus budget deficit.

On Tuesday, Lang and two homeless residents testified before the House's transportation committee. A bill in both the House and the Senate would put the idea--dubbed "self-sufficiency discount passes," in the legislature's dry parlance--into practice, though don't expect a vote anytime soon. (Maybe in 6-8 weeks, says Lang).

Here's compilation of the group's on-the-street interviews that helped spawn the idea:

So is this proposal a good idea? Sound off in the comments section below, preferably in haiku form (why not?).