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Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Transit death spiral?

Metro Transit today announced today proposed service cuts, fare increases, and hearings to debate it all. The service cuts would affect 70% of their bus routes, in both urban and suburban areas. Fares would go up by a quarter.

This latest bunch of budget cuts could very well hasten the end of transit in this area. Metro Transit is already caught in a death spiral: fare increases and cutbacks in 2001 led to lower ridership, as did the strike. Raising prices and cutting service even more will lead to even fewer riders, less farebox revenue, and the need to do this all again in very short order. Eventually, we will have nothing more than a skeleton system, if anything.

We simply don't spend enough on transit here. The legislature has cut funding over and over, demonstrating a tin ear when it comes to recognizing that there are many people who depend on transit to live. I'm not pleased with regressive taxes like a sales tax to fund transit improvements, but it has worked in other areas and it seems to be our last hope at this point. If we don't do something soon, we are going to be in a heap of trouble.


At 10:11 AM, March 16, 2005, Blogger rew said...

The most frustrating part of this to me is the toll lane. The toll lane's fare will change based on how many people use it, and if not enough people use it the fare will go down for more people to participate. Yet the bus system will continue to raise fares to make up for lost ridership, losing more ridership and forcing them to raise fares.

At 2:13 PM, March 16, 2005, Blogger Hammer said...

I'd be willing to drive to the Apple Valley Transit Center to take a bus downtown when I want to take the kids to the Science Museum. Unfortunately, even if I drive to the transit center, there's no good way to get to downtown Saint Paul and back by bus. Transit's a joke in the Twin Cities.


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