I was recently reading Bus Chick’s year in review, and I was struck by this:
What’s a little kid-related bus inconvenience compared to no buses? Those of you who live in King County no doubt remember this summer’s terrifying, “we might have to cut 17% of your service” moment. The County Council passed the (temporary) congestion reduction charge, but the problem hasn’t gone away–for KC Metro, or for transit agencies across the state (CT and PT have already implemented drastic cuts) and the country. If the state doesn’t figure out a real solution to the transit revenue problem ASAP, those barely averted cuts will become a reality.
In the meantime, riders (including this one) are already feeling the pinch. Metro is closing stops, reducing hours, eliminating routes, and taking other steps to save money in anticipation of its bleak revenue future.
I agree and would add that the cost of riding is also up quite a bit. With fares up to $3.00 for 2 zones at peak times and with the upcoming elimination of the free ride area, the recession is really pushing the cost of riding onto riders and employers. Fortunately for me, my work pays for it, but that’s a cost to the company I work for is up.*
Last year could have been a lot worse for Metro. And while we celebrate that we avoided that, we should also realize what we’ve lost.
*I realize that the costs will still happen no matter if it’s society at large or individuals and employers paying for it. The point of this post is not really to make an argument one way or the other about what would be better or worse policy.