Thursday, June 5, 2008

FTA Privitization Program Hunts School Buses

Oh the places they will go...with their ideology. More tales of the Bush administration transferring wealth to private corporations. The FTA has decided to make it a requirement to allow charter services to bid for event transport that is now provided by the transit agency such as for baseball games and other special events. And now they are trying to make school bus service. But who is going to serve kids in downtrodden districts that no private entity wants to serve?
In the East Bay, about 30,000 schoolchildren use AC Transit buses to get to and from school, paying $15 a month for discounted youth passes. While many of those trips are on regular routes used for nonschool commuters, some of them with route numbers between 600 and 699 are specially scheduled and routed to serve specific schools. Local officials fear that the change sought by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) would ban those special routes.
"If this came to pass, it would be a disastrous development for Oakland and for many school districts in California," said Troy Flint, spokesman for the Oakland school district. Flint said it would be "a huge financial burden" for the district to pay for private contractors, and that it wasn't clear whether private companies would even be willing to serve all of the areas covered by AC Transit.
I'm not sure what to think of this, but at first thought, its the stupidest thing I've heard yet. Especially from the FTA spokesman who when asked about AC Transit situation had this to say: "Federal Transit Administration spokesman Paul Griffo said that because the regulation process is under way, the agency cannot address specific concerns such as those raised by AC Transit." That's probably because they didn't think of it, as usual.

1 comment:

Jack said...

The FTA has also banned private organizations from sponsoring public transportation.

In Tacoma, event sponsors have in previous years paid for shuttle service by Pierce Transit to move runners to the Sound to Narrows race near Point Defiance, where there is very limited parking. Their website says there is now a $1.50 fee each way for the service, due to changes in FTA regulations.

Though $3 is still worth it to me to not worry about parking, this sets a dangerous precident. This is not just public transport, but mitigation of parking and traffic effects on a quiet neighborhood.