There’s a definite trend in the comment threads towards indifference to deep Metro cuts, essentially because a lot of the casualties will be low-productivity. Now, we’re all taxpayers here and there’s certainly a point where service is so unproductive it simply doesn’t deserve to be part of the budget.
Where you draw that line is a pretty good measure of how pro-transit you are. One can always make a system more “cost-effective” overall by simply shrinking it down to a dozen or so of the best routes, but then you’ve simply given up on having a comprehensive system. Put another way, when sensible policies are in place the marginal service to be added or deleted is almost always somewhat inefficient.
It’s one thing to say that unproductive routes are being cut to divert resources to better ones, because there’s a greater good being served. But even a lousy route is someone’s most efficient way home, the route that is within easy walking distance for a disabled person, or one that makes some part of the county reachable by transit. No route has zero ridership, and I’m not going to dance on the grave of the 38 or the 42. It made sense for someone, even though the hours could be better used elsewhere.
Worse yet, some people think that cuts to unproductive routes make service cuts a good thing, so that the $20 license fee is counterproductive. It’s true that Metro has had a good crisis; as in many other organizations, periods of austerity dictate a close look at costs. But that process has basically played out with the new Metro strategic plan, which instructs Metro to periodically review its service in accordance with productivity metrics.
Given the new plan, the tax vote* is about whether we’re going to have a large, more efficient system or a smaller, more efficient system.
* assuming it occurs at all.