There are basically 2 ways to make Metro fiscally sound: (1) eliminate most service south of Renton and East of Lake Sammamish or (2) find another source of revenue (fares, taxes, taking the money away from something else the county does or some combination, but fares have already gone up and other services are hurting too). Or if you’re The Seattle Times, whine about driver pay and don’t offer any real solutions.
Two problems are special to Metro. One is bus-driver pay. It can be defended by pointing to the 2010 contract, which has minimal raises. But under the previous contracts, between 2000 and 2009, bus-driver pay rose 38.5 percent, to the third-highest figure of any big-city bus operation in the country.
Metro now feels the consequences of the contracts it has signed.
Like 90% of bus drivers are helpful and good natured. They put up with drunks, abrasive assholes, and all sorts of shit while navigating often narrow streets in and out of traffic. They are professionals. So, doy, don’t pay them anything. Also, I’m a little confused. Was bus driver pay the 3rd highest after 2009 or is it the third highest now, after concessions? The writing wasn’t clear, but I think they mean the first. The Seattle Times doesn’t say what we should pay bus drivers, nor do they calculate how many more routes we could save with cuts to bus drivers’ pay (assuming we don’t have more accidents, etc. with poorly paid drivers).
Another problem is that Metro tried to serve the whole county. The agency is going back to setting routes based more on demand, and that is good. Run buses where people want to ride them. But it is too late to avoid this deficit.
It is true that it is more costly (as I hint at in the opening), but I’m not sure it’s a “problem” as the editorial says. I think 40-40-20 is horrible policy, and am fine focusing on routes that serve the most people. Still, I don’t think we should abandon the whole areas of the county that aren’t dense enough to make back much at the fare box.
Anyway, then The Seattle Times goes from wrong to wroooooong.
The problem is that the five lattes are on top of all the other lattes, mochas and Frappuccinos people already buy for their government. Taxes go up in bad years because times are bad and good years because we can afford it.
Aah the implication that no taxes have ever gone down. Good work, people who hate facts.
There has to be a stopping point. Given the economic pain, the public opposition and the unbelievable claim that the $20 tax is for two years only, this is a good time to say no.
FYI, I skipped it but their only evidence for public opposition is that they get more letters opposing it than pro. No polling data. No focus groups. Letters to one newspaper is how you judge all public support. They aren’t calling for an election.
And it’s not like they’ve supported other tax hikes and are reluctantly opposing this. They’re opposed to any tax hike no matter how reasonable. Really, the line in the sand for The Seattle Times isn’t Metro funding. It’s public education, K-12 and higher ed. And it’s public safety. It’s all of the things the state, county, and cities do that have been reduced since the recession hit.