As anyone who regularly reads my blog, you will know that I am opposed to the Bus Riders Union. In Los Angeles 10 years after the BRU won a court order to improve bus service, service is at an all time low and the only people who won were the lawyers who got rich and Eric Mann who was the head of the BRU with a salary close to John Inglish's. The BRU caused the MTA in Los Angeles to spend money it did not have, run routes that did not make sense, and keep fares artificially low.
While I was not happy with the changes that UTA made in some areas, we also have to recognize that the funding will only go so far.
The only way the BRU achieved what it did in Los Angeles was by race baiting and dealing with a board that more interested in scoring points than what was best for transportation.
Meanwhile our local BRU is trying to do the same here in Salt Lake City. They have this video being showed which is very interesting. First it is 19 minutes of bashing UTA but lets look at some of the issues:
1. Icy Driveway
-Sounds like a problem with the owner of their nursing facility not UTA's. If it is a problem talk to their landlord.
2. Narrow Sidewalk
-Once again how is this UTA's problem. They would not route a bus down a side street were these people are so what is the complaint to UTA here? While I agree that narrow sidewalk's are a problem, that problem rests with poor urban planning, not UTA.
3. Sidewalks not Shoveled
-This sounds like a problem for the city not UTA. How is UTA to blame for this?
4. Roots of a Tree Damaging Sidewalk
-Once again this is not a problem of UTA's it is a city problem
5. A Truck from an Auto Repair Shop Blocking the Road
-Once again this is a problem with the auto repair shop, not UTA. Maybe if they would nicely go and talk to the owner he would take care of the problem. Instead they will probably go in and threaten a lawsuit or something and just alienate the small business owner not win the owner over.
6. Complains that bus stop has grassy area in front of it. Sprinklers turned on in summer.
-Ok, here is a problem that UTA can deal with but it is not UTA's fault that a property owner turns on the sprinklers. What if they went in and talked nicely to the landlord and told them their problem?
7. Drivers come flying out of the Maverick parking lot that is on the corner.
-Can we once again say a city planning issue not UTA's fault. There is not much UTA can do abut having driveways near a bus stop.
Once you get to the end of the video you do see that the bus does come behind their building were an old bus stop was. OK, I see it is reasonable that a bus stop be reestablished there if it is safe, but they also want nite ride like the old 107 so they will not be shut in at night. Well that is a little more trickier isn't it. How much is it going to cost to restore the nite ride service? More importantly how much is it going to cost?
Here is the link to the video complaint:
Restoring the bus stop they complain about should not be a big problem after all, but restoring the nite ride would be extremely expensive. This is were the danger is. While I think UTA can do a better job with it routes instead of using the transit mentality of "no duplication" and create routes using a marketing matrix system, you cannot run routes into the night if they are getting only one, two or no riders.
As much as I depended on the old 124 when I lived in Sandy and worked to 10:00pm at night, the 124 was only carrying one or two people and many times no one. If I was still living in this apartment I would not have a night ride and would face an hour walk home. However, bus service cannot be justified when so few are using it. Otherwise we would have the massive bus cuts that Los Angeles area is now facing.
Now if we could get more people on the bus during the day, which would require a more marketable service, our bus service would be bring in enough revenue to justify the nite service. Until that time UTA cannot run a bunch of nite ride service with few to no riders.