Thursday, April 30, 2009

Airport thrown under bus.

Did anyone else notice the irony of the city diverting funds from "...money previously earmarked for an airport road construction project..." to save the bus system?

It appears to me that there is an inherent contradiction in their planning process.

I mean, on the same front page, they have two articles.

1.) Bend to keep weekend bus service.

2.) Area aviation officials say they'll survive Cessna's departure.

As I said before, I so pleased for them. But apparently they'll survive with roads that have big potholes. (I know, it was road improvements, but you know what I mean.)

So they would rather have mostly empty buses running on weekends, than support infrastructure involving the airport.

You almost have to wonder if they got together and said, "Well. We don't have to please those Cessna people anymore. And traffic is going down, down. So let's take that money and save the buses....again.

How did the BAT become a sacred cow?

21 comments:

blackdog said...

"How did the BAT become a sacred cow?"

How did you become so opposed to public transit?

Duncan McGeary said...

I'm not opposed to mass transit.

I'm opposed to shit on a cracker.

I would vote for mass transit if it came up for a vote again.

I don't believe in throwing good money after bad in a badly managed and poorly planned and inadequately funded BAT.

Duncan McGeary said...

Do you think this "Perils of Pauline" situation with BAT is likely to change?

To get worse?

What are they going to cut out of the general fund next?

Has anyone thought this through?

Bewert said...

Re: Has anyone thought this through?

###

Heh...

RDC said...

Based upon the numbers that $100,000 allows them to preserve the weekend routes and using the numbers in the article as the basis on an estimate on the number of riders (using the saturday numbers for Sunday as well). That means that they are subsidizing the week end rider on the fixed routes in the amount of $16.72 per rider per day.

RDC said...

Before anyone talks about the advantages of mass transit on the environment, let me comment that at this ridership level you are probably generating more CO2 then if each rider drove themselves.

I actually may have been off on my numbers I assumed, apparently incorrectly that the fixed routes also ran on Sunday as well as Saturday. In rereading the article it implies that only the dial-a-ride runs on Sunday. If that is the case then the numbers become a subsidy of $25.64 per rider per day.

blackdog said...

In what way(s) is BAT currently "badly managed"? Okay, we all know about the lemon buses, but that's an old story.

I'll concede that it's poorly planned in terms of providing service, but they did the best they could with the limited resources they had.

And, yes, it's inadequately funded. But I don't see how that's an argument for making the funding even more inadequate.

tim said...

>>And, yes, it's inadequately funded. But I don't see how that's an argument for making the funding even more inadequate.

Really? I think it's a great argument in time of budgetary strain.

We need to do triage and cut dumb stuff. Or else EVERYTHING will be underfunded and sucky.

Duncan McGeary said...

Oh, I don't know.

Buying lemon buses?

Not insuring adequate funding?

Not planning for a downturn?

Not having adequate ridership to pay for a significant portion of the service?

I'm pretty sure I could come up with more.

But here's the kicker:

Having most of the same management still in place who bungled the above?

Duncan McGeary said...

BD -- you say you don't let your political bias get in the way of seeing clearly.

In your memorable phrase: seeing shit on a cracker.

At what point does the worthiness of a program become less than the cost?

Could perhaps that money not be used more effectively somewhere else.

Really, though, my biggest argument is this: Things Are Not Going To Get Better Anytime Soon.

Where is the money going to come from in the future? They keep cutting and borrowing, but no light at the end of funding tunnel....

blackdog said...

"Buying lemon buses?"

Like I said -- old news.

"Not insuring adequate funding?"

How? From where?

"Not planning for a downturn?"

How? Even if they foresaw it -- and I don't believe anybody foresaw the magnitude of this one -- what emergency funding source could they plan to tap? You could level the same criticism against police and fire departments, schools or any other public service.

"Not having adequate ridership to pay for a significant portion of the service?"

First, I challenge you to name one public transit system in the country -- in the world, for that matter -- that pays for itself out of the fare box. Second, ridership of a public transit system has to build over time.

"I'm pretty sure I could come up with more."

I'm pretty sure you can't or you would have. I asked you to cite examples of bad management; you gave me one, from years ago.

Sorry -- four strikes, you're out. I like ya, Dunc, and I know you're a good guy, but you seem to just have a hair up yer ass about BAT for some reason.

blackdog said...

"Could perhaps that money not be used more effectively somewhere else."

Such as where?

Consider this: One of the most back-breaking expenses for low-income families is owning and operating a second car. For a modest, second-hand car it runs upwards of $2,000 a year, depending on miles driven etc., according to a figure I recently saw. If one member of the family can get to and from work without a car, that's $2,000 more a year the family could have to spend on food, shelter, clothes -- or comic books, if you like.

Consider it a form of economic stimulus.

Duncan McGeary said...

Pretty much. Ever since I did the math on ridership and realized that taxi rides would cheaper.

And that hasn't changed.

Duncan McGeary said...

Like I said, sacred cow.

You either believe or you don't.

I don't actually care all that much.

But if we're trying the score points, hbm, you never answered my question about further funding if the economy continues to go bad around here, which I think it will.

How much money are you willing to pull from the general fund?

What would you cut?

tim said...

>>If one member of the family can get to and from work without a car...

"Work?" What's "work?"

I think it's a matter of priorities. I'm all for a bus system if it's getting people to and from their jobs. But this town has not done the work to establish a strong economic base. The bus system seems a silly frivolous waste now. Like having a barber in a town of only bald men.

Quimby said...

BD: BAT=shit-on-cracker

Why are you eating this one? Public transit is for cities of size man. This BAT shit is just more Bend delusions of grandeur.

Duncan McGeary said...

Like I said, BD, I'd vote for a transit district, for a tax on my property every month, which would affect me more than it does currently.

I guess when they say small business owners become conservative, what they mean is, we are scrimping for every dollar, making every dollar count, making it cost effective. We don't automatically buy a new carpet just because the old one becomes worn.

It drives me a little hair up the assish to see money wasted profligately because it's 'non-profit' and/or public monies.

The lemon buses may be an oldy, but it's a goody. Don't know why it doesn't still count.

What do you say to RDC's math?

What I'm thinking is -- say 20 riders an hour seems good, does 18 do the job, or 15, or 10?

I don't think that has ever been answered to my satisfaction.

blackdog said...

Okay, I don't want to get into a big pissing contest with Dunc over this, so I'll just make one final comment and then drop it:

BAT is certainly not a perfect or ideal public transit system, and its management is not infallible (although when challenged to provide specific examples of bad management, Dunc could only come up with the old lemon bus story).

But BAT is the only public transit system we've got. We've made a considerable investment in it. It we allow it to go tits-up, we're going to lost that investment and have to start from scratch when we decide we need public transit again.

And we WILL need it again -- because, for one reason, state law requires cities to make provision for public transit in their master plans. The state actually has the power to impose a growth moratorium if a city doesn't comply. Bend was allowed to slide for a long time, but might not be allowed to slide forever.

Eliminating weekend service and cutting routes and hours of weekday operation might be necessary during the city's financial crisis, but pulling the plug on the whole system would be very short-sighted.

tim said...

Blackdog,

You beat Duncan only because he screwed up a response and couldn't even fix it ON HIS OWN BLOG!

tim said...

>>The state actually has the power to impose a growth moratorium if a city doesn't comply.

Oh how awful that would be for Bend when it's LOSING people and has tons of EMPTY houses.

I bet it'd be cheaper to bring back BAT five years from now than fund it all the way from now until then.

Duncan McGeary said...

"Not insuring adequate funding?"

How? From where?

***** Well, exactly my point.

"Not planning for a downturn?"

How? Even if they foresaw it -- and I don't believe anybody foresaw the magnitude of this one -- what emergency funding source could they plan to tap? You could level the same criticism against police and fire departments, schools or any other public service.

*****whoocoodanode? Actually, I do believe some of us did see how bad it was going to be.

"Not having adequate ridership to pay for a significant portion of the service?"

First, I challenge you to name one public transit system in the country -- in the world, for that matter -- that pays for itself out of the fare box. Second, ridership of a public transit system has to build over time.

*****Oh, I understand that. But 1 rider per hour is more inadequate than 5 riders per hour which is more inadequate than 10. Where are we on that scale?

"I'm pretty sure I could come up with more."

I'm pretty sure you can't or you would have. I asked you to cite examples of bad management; you gave me one, from years ago.

Sorry -- four strikes, you're out.

*****Actually, I've answered all your questions, and you haven't answered any of mine.

I'll repeat.

Where would you go for more money if the economy in Bend worsens?

Why should the management who bought the lemon buses be trusted to make good decisions?

What level of ridership would be too little for you to support?

"I like ya, Dunc, and I know you're a good guy, but you seem to just have a hair up yer ass about BAT for some reason.

*****Back at ya, B.D.