Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Transit Riders Union Letter to the Editor Posting

A letter to the editor to the Salt Lake Tribune has been posted to the blog of the transit riders union which clearly shows that they are willing to use anything to advance their political agenda. After reading the letter, I decided to respond…

Your proposal sucks. I do not approve of this
proposal. One of the U. of U. professors pulled a
whine and cheese act and UTA immediately jumped up to
accommodate her.

OK, first of all, if I was reading this response it would go in file 13 ASAP. Talk about an unprofessional response. No one will listen when you spew like this except for the few people who have the same political agenda as you.

UTA did not have a public meeting on this proposal.
UTA did not notify the public when UTA added the 7:09
p.m. 223 bus to the outbound schedule.

UTA would not return "nightride" to the southeast
section of Sugarhouse UTA took away. So, why should
the 100 (plus) of us who used the "nightride" give
approval to this bunk.

Now, I have no idea what this guy is talking about when it comes to the U of U professor and if you read the rest of the letter it is clear he doesn’t know what he is talking about. Throughout the letter he makes statements that are untrue or show we say that they use “creative license” with the facts.

First of all 100 plus did not ride the nightride (he is referring to the old 107). According to ridership records which compares to my observations of this route when it was still running, it averaged 62.9 riders per night (winter months higher, warmer months lower). That averages out to less than seven riders per trip. Of this ridership, 90%+ was north of Interstate 80.

Now you would think from this guy’s attitude that all “evening” service was killed. On the contrary, there is still “evening” service provided to the area by the 21 and other routes that provide service to a majority of the riders who used to ride the 107. In fact there is “evening” service along 3300 south.

Finally he complains that UTA ADDING service to the 223? Talk about a whine and cheese session because UTA didn’t have a formal public hearing about it. Well, I hate to tell you sir but UTA doesn’t have to have a public hearing when adding a run to a route. The last time I checked they need to have a public hearing when they are changing 25% or more of the operation of the route, so one run will not rate a public hearing.

Now let’s look at the next part of the diatribe:

#1 The routes were cut last October because the UTA
managers wanted their bonuses. I was informed by
"insider information" that the managers had received
their bonuses when they made the route cuts. I was
also informed by the "insider" that UTA planned to cut
driver jobs. This is a violation of the contract UTA
and ATU(Amalgamated Transit Union) agreed to recently.
These managers make more money and bonuses then most
other transit managers. What a shame!

Huh? The last time I checked there were no cuts in October since UTA usually changes bus service three times a year and that is August, December, and April. Somehow I get the feeling that some bus driver is feeding this guy a load of bull and he is running with it as “insider information”.

The next part:

#2 UTA lied about the ridership increase. UTA "cooked"
the figures they claimed they had counted during their
recent UTA TRAX survey.

Hate to tell you this, but even with the adjustment in the ridership numbers, ridership is still up thanks to TRAX but we have already seen that you understand how to cook numbers and we shall see more in part 4.

Here is part 3 of the diatribe:

I agreed with The Deseret(Morning) News article of
January 2007 and a BYU economics professors assessment
that the ridership would not increase or get people to
leave their cars and ride public transit.(verbatim
quotes) The Deseret News article stated that using
public tax money would also not get people out of
their cars. The TRAX spurs were a waste of taxpayer
money.

Facts are facts; TRAX is creating new ridership and will continue to do so especially the Daybreak line that will give service to areas that have lousy bus service now. If you look at the lower cost per passenger on TRAX, it will soon pay of its cost of construction or already has.

Should I go into the economics professor? After all if you line up 10 economists in the room they will have 10 different opinions. I had 3 economic professors in college and the three of them could not agree on the day of the week much less anything else beyond the basics. Clearly the BYU professor has his political slant and will not let facts get in his way.

Let’s take a look at number 4. Sorry, but this one shows that the writer is not only wrong but he will take “creative license” with the facts.

“The riders also complain about
the numerous transfers they must make.
Instead of taking 40 minutes to get to the downtown
area it now takes me 60 to 90 minutes. If I decide to
ride mid-day it takes longer. IF, I say, IF I am lucky
and the bus/Trax is on time it takes me 66 minutes.
Every day I catch the 6:18 a.m. 223 Route(20th E. 27th
S.). If it is on time I get to the Stadium Trax
Station at 7:10 a.m. There is a 4 minute wait for trax
then another 10 minutes to ride downtown.”

OK, let’s look at the fact that shows that the writer lied here.
The 223 at 20th E. 27th South does leave at 6:18AM. OK so he told one truth. Now doesn’t it seem odd that it would take a bus from 6:18AM to 7:10AM to get to the University? Well guess what, there is something odd because it is not true. The 6:18AM bus from 20th E. 27th South arrives at Stadium TRAX not at 7:10AM but at 6:35AM. The next bus 30-minutes later does not even arrive at 7:10 but at 7:05AM arriving at the Business Bldg at 7:08AM, so were does this person get his 7:10AM number from?

TRAX then leaves at 6:44AM arriving at the Civic Center Station 6:57AM so a total elapse time of 39 minutes, one minutes less than the 40-minute that it is “claimed” to have taken him before.

Maybe this guy should read the schedules better since it is clear he either does not ride the bus or is just not telling the truth.

Then there is point 5 talking about the Davis county situation. While the county did a poor job of saying what the initiative as for since from my interpretation it was a highways bill only, it is clear that money from the food sales tax is being lost clear and simple.

Here is the next part of the diatribe:

“The situation that pissed me off the most was
hearing from several of my insiders that this U. of U.
professor continues to pull her "whine with her cheese
act" and complain about one specific driver. This
driver does his/her best at the job. The driver read
several complaints that stated the driver was ten
minutes late on several occasions. This driver told me
that the supervisor checked the UTA GPS and found one
time the driver was late 1.5 seconds.”

Here is more of the “insider” information. Here he says the driver does his or her best job. Clearly he is taking information from one source, a dubious one at that, and taking it as fact.

The final part of his diatribe:

I am not able to attend downtown nightlife
functions because UTA took away the Sugarhouse area
"nightride."

Actually as I mentioned before most of Sugerhouse area has better “evening” service than it had under the old system. After all they have the 209, 220, and the 21 that all provide evening service. However, most of those riders were along the stretch that still has good evening service. While it may be a few blocks away, there is evening service on the 33 down on 3300 South.

It is clear that the Transit Riders Union will not be satisfied until they have the service THEY want and everything else is bankrupt just like Los Angeles.

We have seen the damage that can be done when a group gets too powerful and can start dictating policy no matter how poor the policy is. Because of the consent decree in Los Angeles, the Bus Riders Union was able to dictate policy to METRO for 10 years and now the Los Angeles area is seeing bus service cuts because of how badly the Bus Riders Union drained the METRO resources.

While Eric Mann the head of the BRU drives around in his BMW, the bus riders of Los Angeles who he claims he helped now have worse bus service than ever. Let’s make sure that does not happen in Salt Lake City.

1 comment:

theorris said...

Actually I've noted a marked improvement of service since the big change. Yes, I can't hop on a bus right outside my house and end up at Cottonwood Mall, but then again I never went to Cottonwood Mall anyway.

You nailed it: the letter is a diatribe. It lacks any substantive evidence and is more "whine" than cheese, to use his rather idiotic terminology. I like the play to social class, as well: town vs. gown.

Oy.