Thursday, October 17, 2013

Fascination Street
Bus fares? What'r those? I have about the best situation in the world. I don't have to pay for my bus ride each day. One of my employers does. This holds true for both the Valley Mover system as well as the People Mover system.

However, I can see where a lot of riders would be adversely affected by a fare hike on the People Mover. While I don't disagree with raising some fares - an adult fare of 2 bucks isn't outlandish, it does seem that the fares for seniors should remain static. Those who live on fixed incomes have a hard enough time as it is. Effectively doubling their transportation costs would have an effect greater than anyone on the city council could imagine. Hell, I seriously doubt any of them have ridden a bus in years, if ever.

One thing that caught my eye in the article is that the proposed increase would bring in ~$600,000 a year and roughly half of that would go to boost service. When they say boost service, what do they mean? More buses? Better drivers? Better bike racks? Nicer bus stop shelters? There is mention of running more buses on a few key routes, which is good, but is it worth an overall fare hike?

I don't know all the issues and details with the People Mover. But being a bus rider now, I can see where any fare hike without clearly defined benefits to the riders is viewed as a city government getting greedy.

Certainly a lot of riders, hell, most riders, ride because they have limited choices. They can ride the bus, walk, or bike because they can't afford a car and gas or because they no longer have driving privileges, or any number of other reasons. And, let's be honest, riding a bike from the east side to the west side is not practical for most people on a daily basis. That ride is difficult under the best circumstances. Imagine trying to do it at three in the morning to get to some minimum wage job at a gas station for your 5 am shift start. In January. Not ideal. I'd do it, but I'm a moron. Or so I've been told. The bus is a practical solution to the transportation needs of so many folks, but raising the fares...

I just don't know. It seems that those who most need a break and a hand-up in this town are the ones who are constantly getting the shaft. Whatever. No words no more. I'm going to go ride my bike.

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