Wendell and other able bodied people don't really care about kids or older folks that can't drive. Those dial a ride programs are expensive and aren't very reliable. Imagine how much more expensive they would be if they were flushed with all the new traffic after bus routes were shut down. Basically buy people cars and provide taxis. Real good idea Wendell. Lets not get into "the math" either. You always forget to add in the taxpayer cost of local streets, health implications of higher pollution, cost of parking spaces, loss of property tax from highways not to mention the massive taxpayer cost of highway expansion that would have to take place to accommodate all those new cars you bought people.
Q: What would you do if you got to run the Port Authority?
A: If I were given dictatorial powers to go into a place like Pittsburgh and not have to deal with the feds and everything, I would propose that what we do is first offer a program of leased cars to our low-income riders and basically try to move all of our low-income drivers who can drive to cars. And by the way, the mathematics work very well.
Secondly, I would strengthen dial-a-ride (Access) programs to help those people we can't help with cars. And thirdly, I would provide whatever service can be provided by bus or rail profitably. That means that people who work downtown are going to have to start paying their share. Maybe that hurts downtown. But the fact is, there's no reason why a downtown employee should not be paying the full cost of his transit ride to downtown.
There are a lot more gems of half truths and bs in this column, but I thought I would share more. I think its safe to say that Wendell just hates transit and loves cars. He loves the way of life that costs most Americans 19% of their income right off the bat.
Q: What's the best transit system in the United States -- or is there one?
A: Boy.... Oh, San Diego. I would not call it the best. I'd call it the least worst. San Diego has done some wonderful things. They started contracting out transit service in 1979. Their costs are much lower than other systems as a result. More than 40 percent of their system is contracted out now. They carry a huge increase in ridership compared to what they had in 1980 -- a ridership increase that's far greater than the population increase. Everybody likes to talk about the San Diego Trolley, the light rail line. It is, again, the least worst trolley in the country. It is less unsuccessful as a result of its first line that went to the Mexican border. For example, if those Port Authority tunnels under the Allegheny River in Pittsburgh were ending up at the Mexican border, they might make some sense. But in the early years, this San Diego line covered 90 percent of its operating cost; it never covered any capital. As the system has expanded, it's been decimated. There's no other destination like the Mexican border. When you talk about transit in the United States, you have to be talking about best prisoner awards. These systems are a scourge on taxpayers. There are some that do some wonderful things, but nobody does it all right.
There's a bit of race baiting in here mixed with some good ole misleading information. Nothing new from people like Wendell. First off, the San Diego Trolley is the most efficient light rail system in the United States. It operates at 20 cents per passenger mile. Give any other mode outside of bicycles and walking that operate at that low cost. This is saving taxpayers money. Don't give me this bs Wendell about decimation. Your twisted logic has led the United States into this mess we are in today with people dependent on the oil god. Consume all you want and pay later. Well that bill is going to come due soon and the tax payers are going to front it. That will be decimation. It would have been better off in the long run if you and your ilk weren't so busy promoting wasteful living arrangements and solutions that would create more carbon expulsion.
It also seems like Wendell also has a hate for downtowns. I'm not sure why. Perhaps he believes that people should be isolated from each other and knowledge agglomeration should be limited. It's funny to think that Randall and Wendell attack San Jose for its planning, when in reality its much of their thinking that has gone into what created that place. More roads, less downtown, more driving.
We'll get to those privatization arguments later when we have more time.