Island Transit shows we care
August 4, 2009 · 4:20 PM
Every municipality rides the transit see-saw. The more we charge riders, the fewer riders we get. The fewer riders we get, the more taxes it takes to support public transit.
If we charge nothing, we increase ridership to the maximum. It's a good thing, but doesn't that cost us even more tax dollars? Don't be too sure.
Transit systems whose buses carry money pay through the nose for insurance against robbery, injury, and even death to drivers and passengers. We don't. This goes way beyond dollars and cents.
There's more. When money is involved, all drivers and office workers who handle the money must be bonded. Bonding alone runs thousands per person. Then there is the extra cost for accountants, audits, buying and maintaining the change machines; not to mention the pain in the posterior annoyance of fumbling for the right change, or waiting in the rain while others do.
I'm voting yes on the .0003 percent transit tax August 18, but that's just me. Last Saturday's Whidbey News-Times editorial makes a valid point about the Transit Board not asking us for input before slapping this on the ballot. Bus advertising as a revenue stream should have been discussed. I'm sure we the people can come up with other suggestions worthy of discussion.
Island Transit says something good about our community. It says we care, and that we're creative enough to find a practical way to help people who truly need a free ride. And a personal note: Paratransit is a godsend. If you haven't yet learned this from family experience, talk to someone who has.
Island Transit drivers are efficient, safe, and as friendly as humans can be, given the pressures we put upon one another. So are the office workers and maintenance crew. Having said that, there seems little doubt that Island Transit needs to consider an on-going dialogue with we the people. No one has all the answers, not even the dedicated women and men of Island Transit.