RT Brain Trust Rides Again

Katy Grimes: The brain trust at Sacramento Regional Transit have bested themselves – they are now going to charge transit users for parking at some of Sacramento’s light rail stations. This is such a brilliant plan to send light rail users back to their cars, I wondered if a deep cover mole for Michelin tires, or BP Oil came up with it.

RT plans on charging a dollar a day for the privilege of parking and riding the crime-laden light rail trains. Or, riders can buy a $15 monthly parking pass.

It’s like a $15-$20 monthly tax on light rail users. Why didn’t RT just increase fares on everyone?

“The idea is to make some additional revenue in areas where we won’t lose riders,” said agency facilities chief Mike Mattos, the Sacramento Bee reported.

Ah, it’s a revenue thing.

The riders who have cars are the folks making a socially conscious effort to use public transit, while trying to save a little money each month on downtown parking. Chances are that some will undoubtedly find the system no longer worth the effort. Particularly since auto break ins at the RT station parking lots are a regular occurrence.

The 22 reviews of Sacramento Regional Transit on yelp would be hilarious, if they weren’t so horrible. Most reviewers complained about the cost of $6 a day to ride anywhere, the habitually late buses,  angry, nasty bus and light rail operators, safety and security issues, filth, overcrowding on buses, worthless security guards, no late night operation, train breakdowns, and buses full of “people you only see in your nightmares.”

My favorite comment was, “I couldn’t take their shit anymore. I now pay to park downtown by my work even though I only live 20 blocks from my building. THAT is how much I hate RT.”

There is no mention in the story about how many of the riders are subsidized. Welfare recipients are provided bus and light rail passes by the county. State, city and county employees receive a highly subsidized light rail pass.

A regular, full price monthly pass costs $100. State employees receive a $35 pass.

The hoodlums and thugs that ride the trains everyday for free, terrorizing other riders, are allowed to roam the system largely unchecked. Ask any regular light rail rider about the security and safety of the system, and they’ll snort out a laugh.

There have been numerous stories about the inefficiencies of Sacramento’s transit system. But probably the most eye-popping revelation was that on average, RT bus drivers and light rail operators work just 206 days a year. Regular, full-time employees work 260 days a year. That is 11 weeks off every year for the average transit driver.

I’d like to see a calculation for the cost of this excessive time-off in just this one agency, as well as an explanation why. Vacations, workers compensation claims, sick days, paid leave, disability – California has created a nightmare employment situation.

The bureaucrats working at Regional transit should be required to take a basic economics class in order to understand that they are the ones killing the transit system. This decision to whittle more money from only one class of transit users is a classic example of the heedless California bureaucrat.

JAN. 6, 2012

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