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TRANSIT: Let’s invest in our transit opportunity

Letter by Bernice L. Youtz, Tacoma on Oct. 11, 2011 at 12:26 pm with 9 Comments »
October 11, 2011 12:26 pm

Re: “Contracting out could improve service” (letter, 10-10)

The letter’s author writes that contracting out could be an answer to our transit needs, complaining that cut services harm our low-income population. It is not only low-income: all of us who can afford one or more cars know that this is an inefficient way to travel, especially for local commutes where a car sits idle all day.

The writer mentions “jitney” private vehicles, probably not practical today with liability and union issues, but let’s consider a private service. Henry Huntington made his own fortune and provided Greater Los Angeles with excellent public transit.

A recent News Tribune article cited the Tacoma Angel Network, a group of local investors. Would they consider a system of small buses running on fixed routes along a grid designed to reach all neighborhoods? Could they “take it public” and offer to sell shares to any of us who would welcome investing in our own transportation needs? Would the union be a possible partner, investing funds and ensuring jobs for drivers?

“Capitalism at its best,” to quote the TAN chairman, could get a lot of us on the bus.

Leave a comment Comments → 9
  1. fbergford says:

    I agree with you, great letter! Just make sure starting out the employees don’t form a union cause that will harm the business growth!

  2. steilacoomtaxpayer says:

    Write up a proposal to PC instead of letters/emails here. Do a market analysis, submit a business paln and get this thing to “take legs”. 3 months solid hard work and you run a transport biz.

  3. alindasue says:

    I’m all for private companies providing transportation options to the public. If you know someone with the funds to start such a system, I say go for it. Several private and public companies coordinating their resources can eventually lead to one very good transportation network.

    fbergford, unions, in and of themselves, do not harm business growth. If an employer pays a decent wage and treats its employees fairly, then the result would be the same – union or not. If not, then the company probably has bigger problems than whether its employees belong to a union or not.

  4. In order for me to use public transportation. First be 100 percent safer. Second It would have to be reliable like it is in Germany were I don’t have to wait more than 10 min for the next bus then we need ways to get from city to cityand the the airport as well and not just for work hours and special events.

  5. We have private companies that provide transportation to the public.

    Just be willing to pay the price…..

    As to unions…..AS EXAMPLE…the union labor in the auto manufacturing industry makes up 22% of the cost of a car….but that doesn’t stop the “fbergs” of the world from blaming labor for the problems in manufacturing.

    Don’t expect rational thought on the subject of union labor.

  6. taxedenoughintacoma says:

    I want public transit but WITHOUT A PUBLIC UNION.

    The public is now walking because of the unions. They cut runs to save union jobs.

    Can’t the public see that we will have to end the union stranglehold before we can be competitive in the world again.

    It needs to start with 50 states having right to work laws.

  7. And here I was thanking all we needed was more well paying jobs.

  8. If you were operating a private bus service you would have to have very high ridership to break even, Insurance would probally run you 10,000 a year, which at $2 a ride would mean you would have to get 4500 rides just to pay for that. Not to menton fuel costs, which if you used 60 gallons of diesel would probally mean another 120 rides a day, which over the course of a year would mean you’d need another 43,000 rides. Equipment and maintance costs can vary wildly. Used buses run in the $3000 range, tires $2500, and maintance who knows. Just for those expenses its another 2700 rides. So per year just to cover some of the costs you’d need over 50,000 rides. This isnt even including the labor costs Which you would require another 25,000+ rides just to cover the yearly cost of one operator, and to have a decent span of service you’d need 2 operators so you’d need over 100,000 paid rides a year to mabye cover some of the costs of operating the service. It just dosent pan out to operate buses on your own. A very expensive proposition and its no wonder why its in public ownership and operation.

  9. Taxed,
    How can cutting routes protect union jobs?

    Oh, yeah, right wing talking point to hide executive compensation –

    which remained unchanged when routes were eliminated.

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