Author photo from recent Island Transit Board Meeting
Below is my written public comment for the 13 April 2015 Island Transit Special Meeting. I have a $!%&@*^ last minute schedule conflict, so here goes.
As I cannot attend the Island Transit Board Special Meeting for 13 April due to a family situation, this is my public comment. Please accept and share.
First, I strongly support a fare on Island Transit’s connector routes. The message is transit users will pay up front for the transit services we use instead of just rely on sales tax subsides. That only makes sense. Furthermore, charging fares cause the Island Transit governance triad (board, director & director’s staff and upcoming driver’s union) to realize they have a financial stake in being responsive to riders and letting riders give input before decisions are made as riders’ fares replace grant dollars.
Second, I support with reservations Proposal 1 that was drawn up 23 March. Proposal 1’s last transit runs should start Northbound at 6 PM and Southbound at 6:30 PM so as to help commuters. It is very clear to me that as Republicans are on the rise in the state legislature and wish to focus on “congestion relief” we focus the County Connectors on serving commuters. We need to realize we will likely be asking for further state financial aid and as such by being on-message with their goal of “congestion relief” we can work collaboratively to accomplish the same goal. Furthermore by showing transit can result in effective congestion relief and helping keep disabled persons off of the dole, we align Island Transit with traditional small-c conservative causes making it more palatable to support Island Transit, Version 2.0.
Third, I did a bit of mathematics Sunday night in my consternation both at my absence and at Proposal 1’s too early final runs. With Representative Hayes’ $1 million for the biennium and if Skagit Transit was willing to participate alongside us, we could buy back each year not three runs each way at a combined annual cost of $143,547.46 as per Proposal 1 per service day but theoretically a bit over ten (10) with $500,000 per year.
So I propose Northbound shuttles at 5:35, 6:35, 7:35, 9:35, 4:00, 5:00, 6:00 & 7:00. Southbound shuttles can start at 5:55, 6:45, 7:55, 9:55, 3:30, 4:30, 5:30 & 6:30. Notice each shuttle is only 8 not 10. I did that so there was some money left over to install fareboxes and as a strategic reserve if there’s a drop-off in ridership, or if I’ve oversimplified the situation.
Special thanks to Representative Dave Hayes for stepping up. Just as I hope the first P-8A Poseidon to NAS Whidbey Island is named the USS Jim Slowik after his work on the P-8A basing, I hope when these buses for these shuttles are named – they’re named the Scott Dudley Express and the Dave Hayes Express.