Could Metro face a bus rider revolt?So Metro's Jan-April 2005 stats came out recently, and the rail ridership is pretty healthy, but overall system ridership is down 3% and several bus routes are being cut. This drop is common in cities where previously continuous bus routes are forced to transfer to new rail lines - the extra delays incent people to find alternative transportation if possible. I came across this blurb in an email newsletter I get, and I could definitely see this happening to Metro in the future if these trends continue.
CIVIL-RIGHTS ADVOCATES SUE OVER BAY AREA RAIL TRANSIT
Low-income residents of Oakland are suing the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, charging discrimination because the commission gives most available funds to rail transit to affluent white neighborhoods while bus transit in poor minority neighborhoods are starved for funds. The Metropolitan Transportation Commission (MTC) is the regional organization that distributes federal transportation funds to Bay Area transit and highway agencies.The suit points out that MTC's regional transportation plan failed to provide $700,000 for bus transit improvements in a black neighborhood, but it did fund $1.5 billion for commuter trains and $4 billion for a BART extension to San Jose. MTC's own analysis said that the unfunded bus service would have added new passengers at a cost of just 75 cents a ride, while the commuter trains would cost $26 per new ride and the BART extension would cost up to $100 per new ride. This suit resembles a suit brought by the NAACP against the Los Angeles transit agency in the 1990s. That suit forced the agency to slow or halt its rail transit plans in order to restore bus service to minority neighborhoods. More information about this suit is available at http://tinyurl.com/8otrw
For an interesting history of the Los Angeles Bus Riders' Union suit by one of the organization's leaders, see http://la.indymedia.org/news/2005/05/126280.php
(Anne also has a good post on this topic over at blogHouston)