Could common sense be infecting Austin?

Capital Metro board backs away from fare increase plan

First the French come to their senses…  Now taxing authorities in Travis County are actually backing down from stupidity?  At the behest of the people?  Can it be true?

Surprisingly enough, at least in this case, it seems true.   The Austin-American Statesman’s Ben Wear reports that the board decided after the public meeting that the staffers should come up with better market research, a long-term financial plan (they actually wanted to raise fares without one?) and equity for the lower-income people dependent on the buses.   Which is exactly who doubling the fares and eliminating the discount rates would have hurt the most… Those who have to ride the bus rather than those who do it out of convenience…  (or guilt, if you will….  I certainly would never call the buses convenient.)

Suggestions made by the board were as follows:   Graduated fare increases …  Raising the fares over a longer period of time to give people time to adjust to the extra expense … Even the Post Office figured that one out.    Zoned Fares…  Charging more for longer rides should be a no brainer…  Although the Express buses already cost twice the normal fare, and are the longest routes out there.    Personally I’ve always thought that certain routes (Namely the 1 and 3 routes) are far too long and should be split into 2 or 3 routes in order to make running the buses more frequently economical.  There are several transfer stations that could be used for such purposes… Although even the transfer stations don’t have much protection from the elements… something CapMet has always been short on.  They did say that the commuter rail should charge more for longer trips.  That’s a good dose of sense in my view.    Charge for the ‘Dillos …  The ‘Dillo routes being free has never made much sense to me…. Although charging a normal fare would be silly…  a quarter would be a reasonable charge for such a convenience.  They’ve already got fare boxes on them.    Maintain Discounts …  This is a smart move.  The discounted fares have always made sense for those that ride frequently, but not enough to warrant buying a full month pass.  Plus everyone loves a discount or sale… they probably do a lot to increase the ridership.

It seems however that the board still plans to adopt the budget as if the fare increases were to be implemented…  Then make changes later…. Sounds like the status quo to me.

Hmm… Wonder what will happen next.

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