Last month Pierce Transit announced the contours of the looming 35% service cut — 20% cuts on June 12th, and a further 15% on October 2nd. Disappointing for those in favor of a focus on good service in a few places over bad service everywhere, the plan incorporated the deepest cuts to core routes 1, 2, and 3, which according to T4W carry 60% of all system ridership.
It’s not immediately clear how that would be split between June and October, but the Pierce Transit Board is looking at ways to redirect the October cuts using productivity metrics:
Additionally, the Commissioners are exploring an alternative plan to implement the final 15% reductions, which will be implemented as close as possible to the originally scheduled October 2nd, 2011 service change. They asked staff to develop a plan that uses ridership and cost information to determine which routes and trips would help the most riders. A public hearing will be held on this new proposal at the June 13, 2011 board meeting, with possible adoption at the July 11, 2011 board meeting. Staff reductions are expected to occur no later than the end of this year.
When a system withers enough, it’s appropriate to give up on winning choice riders and focus on providing skeletal service to the transit-dependent. It’s not clear that PT is at that point, and it’s reassuring that the board doesn’t think so.
2 Replies to “Pierce Transit Looks for Smarter Cuts”
Priorities for publicly-funded transit:
1. Transit-dependent riders who would otherwise be housebound or gravebound
2. Transit-dependent riders who have no other means of transportation and rely on the transit for their transportation needs, for errands, jobs, etc.
3. Occasional or Choice riders who are utilizing transit for errands, jobs, etc.
4-99. Every other reasonable function (vanpool, carpool, telecommute, etc)
100. Occasional riders who are utilizing transit for transportation to special events.
Pierce Transit is putting #1 at risk by determining they can still serve #3. If their study starts out by discontinuing any service that is primarily commuter-oriented (which of course it won’t, the board isn’t made up of social service provider representatives), they can put some of those hours towards lifeline service for #1.
What you might see is a proposition in November to reduce the PTBA by a significant margin, I would guess JBLM, DuPont, Buckley, Bonney Lake, maybe Steilacoom, probably Edgewood, and Ruston would all be excluded. This would be in preparation for a followup vote in February 2012 pushed hard by pro-transit advocates to draw out the transit supporters.
I actually seriously disagree. People who are completely transit dependent and would otherwise be housebound are not the responsibility of the mass transportation service; they are the responsibility of the rest of the government, specifically the National Health Service. Oh, except we don’t have one of those yet. Sigh….
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