The Times has a big piece this morning on the Mass Transit Now’s campaign’s efforts to mobilize Obama voters. As a partisan of one side, I obviously wish they had printed more rebuttals to the statements of the other side. At the same time, I think it’s better for the transparency of the issues to express the cost of the measure it terms of the average person or household, so I applaud them for that. And I’m glad to see them linking.
However, there are two factual errors, one trivial, and one fairly important.
The trivial one is that Ben is not the founder of this blog, Andrew is. Perhaps Ben is hogging the glory, but I suspect Mike Lindblom didn’t bother to ask the question. [UPDATE: This has been fixed online.]
More importantly, the plan summary says that Prop. 1 will add 100,000 hours of bus service, starting next year. That’s unclearly stated, since there will be 100,000 hours added immediately, and even more added later. This isn’t the Transit Now service drip-feed we’re used to, and it’s an important point given the criticism that this package doesn’t do enough right away.
I’ve been told that the service expansion plan will be out before the election, and we’ll let you know as soon as it’s released. But for reference, assuming each round trip takes two bus operating hours, 100,000 bus hours gets you almost 6 additional round trips for every ST Express route in the system, 365 days a year, and 8 round trips if you add it on weekdays only. That’s a back-of-the-envelope calculation, but it means a lot more to most people than 100,000 hours.
[If you’re coming here for the first time via the Seattle Times, welcome! To find out a bit more about who we are and what we do here, this post is both short and very useful.]