July 13, 2011
"Crowd lines up to oppose Metro bus cuts"
More than 400 people showed up for a sweltering Metropolitan King County Council committee meeting to protest proposed cuts in Metro bus service.
Some urged the council to adopt a $20 car-tab fee that would forestall cuts for two years
Why is Metro proposing to cut service?
Metro's main revenue source is sales tax, which has declined in an economic downturn.
Unmentioned in this article is the inevitable waste and inefficiency of a union-constrained government monopoly which depends mostly on taxpayer subsidies, not rider fares, to fund the service.
Also unmentioned is any suggestion that those who ride the buses could get the service they want if they only start paying their fair share of the fare. The protesting bus riders apparently feel that they're entitled to have their rides paid for by the people who don't ride the bus.
Whiny mooching jerks.
Posted by Stefan Sharkansky at July 13, 2011
03:10 PM | Email This
1. Excellent commentary on this, Stefan. The Times will never say the truth about the state of affairs with all this. Never mind that Metro never delivered even half of what they promised, last time they got a tax increase. Phooey on it! What do you want to bet a lot of those people got paid to show up? That's often how these leftists work, we know all too well.
2. Stefan, you've mentioned you like to visit Green Lake. Do you pay an admission fee, whiny mooching jerk?
3. If King County Metro is anything like Pierce County Transit it is a cesspool of political correctness, diversity uber alles, gender poltics, empire building and back stabbing. Anyone who thinks the main goal of any metropolitan transit system is moving people from one place on the surface of the earth to another place does not understand transit system management.
Bruce @2: My current home is on the hook for about $1,000 over the six years of the Seattle Parks and Open Space Levy, in addition to whatever I paid for it during the 5 previous years I lived here. If somebody wants to replace the property tax that goes to city parks with an entrance fee I would support that, but we all know that isn't likely to happen.
I did just buy a Discovery Pass to use the parking lots at state parks, which I think is a more fair way to fund parks than a tax on people who don't use them.
If you can come up with an example where I have supported proposed legislation to raise taxes instead of raising user fees then I will admit to being a whiny mooching jerk. In the meantime, I will gladly give you a free platform to make yourself look silly.
I'm still waiting for you to tell us why a good Big Government Liberal like yourself doesn't trust the government schools to educate your children.
@1...You better believe that a lot of them got paid to show up. It is part of the game-play by the State/Metro and the State/Union workers to bring attention and pump up a so-called Crisis so, more Taxes can be forced upon the backs of the Citizenry. This is nothing new. Government wants to grow continually and every time it needs to raise Taxes to support it's growth, it will cut services but, Never the internal bloated excess/corruption from within.
Bottom Line: Metro not charging fare prices that represent True Costs is standard procedure to get the Citizens addicted to Government conveyances. Yes, Government wants to grow in all areas especially, in the movement and controlling the movement of People. If Government can control the movement of People they also, can control where they live. Government would love to force people to live in tightly controlled, over taxed Citadels.
Well, maybe this group was spontaneous, but I have my doubts, even though the Seattle Times doesn't seem to.
If this was organized, it would be interesting to know who did it.
7. "whiny mooching jerk" = PRICELESS!
And spot on.
I used to take the metro from Sammamish to Seatac when I was traveling almost every week a few years ago. It was a challenge to make it work since the Eastside had so few routes as compared to Seattle.
Back then, most of downtown Seattle was a free ride zone and I assume it still is. It did bother me that my full fare and tax dollars were subsidizing the free riders. Just like the national picture where 45% pay no Federal income tax.
9. Some urged the council to adopt a $20 car-tab fee that would forestall cuts for two years
Can we have a council meeting where 400+ car drivers meet and propose an increase in bus user fees to pay for roads?
Car owners are expected to pay for buses, trains, and bike lanes as well as to pay tolls for use of the roads they pay for in higher gas taxes.
How about users of non-auto transportation being asked to pay at least 85% of the cost of their transportation of choice? After all, doesn't that fall into the realm of "user fees"?
Steven@8, I believe the City of Seattle pays Metro for the cost of the ride-free zone. (I'm not sure they pay the full cost.)
As for the Sammamish-Seatac route, if you believe Metro should be run more like a business, then you need to accept that the more densely populated areas and heavily traveled corridors will receive most of the bus service. There probably isn't enough Sammamish-Seatac traffic to support a bus route without a much greater subsidy than Seattle-oriented routes.
(I do realize that this raises questions about where those subsidies should come from, but that's true of a lot of government programs where one group is taxed to benefit another, which offends some people in principle at least.)
What gets me are the badly targeted advertisements on conservative radio urging support of 'Public Transportation
'. A front organization for big labor trying to convince those who abhor subsidized big government to 'invest' more! Right.
On another note, please tell me why we also subsidize the custom taxi ACCESS van
service, other than being compassionate? As noted by said protesters is taxpayer-funded transportation now considered some sort of right or entitlement? Perhaps users should be means tested. Just tired of paying for everyone else's convenience.
12. I ride the bus every day. I have done so since 1978.
During my early morning trips downtown since the fare is collected when I get on, all pay.
However coming out of downtown at night you pay when you leave.
One month I did an actual survey on my route, 22,or 21.
I worked 20 days in that month.
on average during the 20 days three out of ten riders left without paying.
One out of ten did not the correct fare, always less.
Why should I pay $20 to subsidize the non-payers, when Metro is not doing their job?
I guess the bus is an entitlement.
I'm glad I retire this year and can register my car elsewhere.
"Seattle" a good place to be from!
13. Instead of whining about the hundreds that showed up to oppose the cuts to metro service (get real - no one paid anyone to attend), why don't you just get people to attend the July 21st meeting to oppose the $20 fee.
14. Another good reason to live in rural pierce county!!Away from those busses. That argument would not fly here!
First, I was at the hearing and there was no organization of the attendees that I could see. I did learn about the hearing from a variety of sources though - THAT is how progressives operate.
Second, according to Metro's survey a large majority of bus riders also drive a car.
Third, I would think that car commuters would be willing to pay a bit to subsidize a bus system that keeps thousands of cars off the road and keeps their drive from becoming more hellish than it is.
Finally, if you want to talk about supporting things you get no direct benefit from, I want my money that goes to schools (no kids), and any roads I don't use which includes all of eastern Washington except for I-5
16. @13, Christina...No one got paid to attend? Yeah, Right! They were all just, concerned Citizens who had no meat in the game other than, the desire for continuing the convenience, frequency of availability for their personal transportation needs. No one was there for a show a force to support the raising of taxes to protect their jobs with Metro. Nor, did Metro/Government have any paid stooges to flesh out the crowd demanding Tax increases upon the Citizenry. Yeah...Right!
I propose an initiative that would require truth in taxes and subsidies.
Buses, trains, etc would have to display the real cost of the fare on the ticket/paybox. Gas pumps and receipts for gas would have to show what part of the purchase went to gas taxes federal and state.
It's easy to overlook these things when they do their best to hide it from everyone.
Stefan, nice smackdown. Bruce had no response.
19. Jeff@18, since the most relevant part of Stefan's "smackdown" was to suggest there should be an admission fee to walk around Green Lake, I didn't think a response was necessary. Anyone who is persuaded of anything by a "smackdown" like that isn't really interested in any other opinion.
If it would be a good idea to have more people riding buses and fewer people driving cars in the downtown area, it seems perfectly reasonable to me to use some combination of taxes and subsidies to promote that result.
This is a separate issue from whether Metro Transit is a well-run system (it isn't) or bus riders should pay more for the services they use (they should). On these questions I think Sharkansky's criticisms are well taken.
But it is unpersuasive to argue against a desirable social policy because it violates some libertarian principle that nobody should ever subsidize anybody to do anything. That is a dead end argument that leads nowhere and resolves nothing.
21. Thomas Rekdal...The problem is not having buses, light rail or heavy rail to help transport people and goods more efficiently especially, in congested areas. The problem is, that it should be provided by the Private Sector and Never by the Public Sector. The Private Sector would run the service far, far more cost effective and the users of the service would be the ones paying those costs and not anybody else. It's called Capitalism and not Communism. Get it? Not, if you're a Liberal.
Daniel: I would agree that a private transportation system is likely to be more efficient than a public one. This is generally true accross a broad range of public services. (Education is another good example.) So I am quite sympathetic to the agument that Metro is union-dominated (and therefore pays its drivers more than the labor market requires) and too politically influential (and therefore able to extract contractual benefits at the expense of taxpayers). But I am not likely to get the private one I would like, and therefore I would like to make the public one as rational as possible.
Even a private system could probably be made better with some additional taxes on cars and subsidies for riders. There is no moral principle that "users of the service [should] be the ones paying those costs and not anybody else."
23. Thomas...Because, you feel that you are not likely to get the service that you would like from the Private Sector running the buses, which of course, is something that you can't know then, you want the Public Service that is ripping off the Taxpayers. My, how Selfish of you. Spoken like a true Liberal. Liberals have no qualms about others being required to chip in to support their lifestyles. Isn't that the same as Stealing from others? Liberals also, fail to understand that as they Steal more and more on various fronts, in time, there will be nothing left to Steal from Society. Isn't that is what Liberalism and Communism is all about? Yes, in time, as the producers/Private Sector is beaten down where there is no longer the funds for investment and the creation of jobs, we will soon reach the level of Liberal Heaven. Walking and living in Mud Huts.
24. Daniel: My, my, I had no idea I was such a social menace. Perhaps when we are conversing in our Mud Huts in Liberal Heaven, I can convince you that I did not start this. It all began (as I recall) when the state (or was it the county or city? I forget)decided to tax martini-drinking (an activity I enjoy) to support the construction of a sports stadium (for the production of entertainments I do not enjoy). At the time, I regretted this decision, but thought it was more of a conflict of social visions than a moral imposition. (Too many martini-drinkers, alas, were also sports enthusiasts.) Who could have known this would be the End of Civilization? But they did it, not I. Cheers.
The new light rail is beginning to suck the life out of the bus system, which it has done in every city where ever implemented. The "now-famous" Portland, OR LR system did this from its inception. Every extension of the line must be financed by a method that does NOT require voter approval. The last time locals were allowed to vote on LR bonds it lost (in the 90s). Also, every time the line is extended TriMet runs down to Salem to beg for additional tax support, since that new portion of the line must be subsidized by tax money. Did you know there is an employee tax in the TriMet zone? I don't know the current take, but something like $300+ million a year. Now THAT's a job creator, huh?
No wonder TriMet's board of directors is appointed by the Governor in Salem, not elected locally.
"Mass transit for thee, not for me" is the elite liberal mantra.
26. Bike Tax.