Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Letter Writer Not Happy With STA Spending

Spokesman-Review Letter to the Editor
STA needs to be curbed

I see that the Spokane Transit Authority is proposing to cut eight routes and 18 drivers. I’m sure we will get lots of letters from bus riders who decry such a move, and I feel sorry for them, but the STA is a perfect example of an agency that spent our tax money like it was a never-ending gravy train. Remember when they built the grand Taj Mahal of a bus station downtown? They were not disciplined enough with our tax money to build a sensible building, but had to import lavish stonework and tropical plants.

There was a park and ride on Montgomery Avenue off of Pines Road that functioned perfectly, but they had to scrap that and instead build one a few blocks away that has nice lawns, etc. that must be maintained.

The list goes on and on including those extra long buses that seem to never have more than a couple of riders. The whole STA should be scrapped and start over with smaller vehicles that could get more people shuttled around at a cost we taxpayers can afford.

Howard Danielson
Spokane Valley

Do you agree? Disagree? Why? The 'long bus' on my route refered to by Mr. Danielson is always full, but its only used during peak times. Also, during our 'Transportation Vision Project' public discussions, it was suggested a couple times to use smaller buses on some routes that have lower rider numbers.


Charles said...

Well where is that bus always empty? Near downtown or near the end of the route? I used to ride a bus from downtown in the evenings to home and it seldom had more than three or four leaving downtown, but it was cut in the 2010 cuts.
I think the lawns are required by the county and cities to get a permit to build a parking lot for the runoff.
I asked about smaller buses saving money and they just save a few dollars a day in operating expenses, the biggest cost is the driver and he or she gets the same for a big or small bus. Switching them during off peak hours costs more than running the big bus all day.

maddy said...

Writing letter is really enjoyable thing!


vanillajane said...

Sheesh! I moved away from Spokane about 10 years ago and it seems like that building was built 10 years before that!

The best thing about bussing before the building, though, was that ALL the buses were downtown at the VERY SAME TIME allowing for quick transfers (except those that ran more frequently than the others.) The other great thing is it eliminated cheap parking spaces, which just encourage single occupancy vehicles.

SRTC Staff said...

Charles has the insight when it comes to all things STA. He's a member of one of their citizen committees and very active in the community when it comes to transportation. My bus route has also been pretty empty when I ride it during the day, but mid-day service on it is also being cut, so STA is recognizing the less utilized routes/times and trying to make cuts based on that.

Rachel said...

Perhaps the letter writer has seen the 66 bus coming back from Cheney in the morning, or heading out there in the evenings.
The EWU commute is pretty one-directional based on the time of day, but those huge buses are definitely necessary! I have hopped on the third one of those to come and STILL had to stand some times!

I was happy to finally see STA getting smart about how to handle Cheney. I look forward to when they roll out the new bus route (I hope it's not just a proposition) when they will only be running one bus line back and forth between Spokane and Cheney, and keep a second one in Cheney to service local riders.

The 65 does not get that much out-of-Cheney use when the 66 is running. What's the point in using twice the fuel?

I personally also think they could do a bit more to make east to west connections better. It's easy to get downtown, it's easy to get north to south. But if you want to go east to west you have to go downtown first, or _maybe_ way out north.

I also wish they would schedule buses better. Seems like all the buses in the same area leave at the same time. I once missed my 6 pm bus and had to wait an HOUR before any of the SIX buses that go within 1 mile of my house would leave again, because ALL six had just left. :-P

Joel S. said...

Thanks for the comments everybody. Rachel, one of the things we are hoping to accomplish with the service change in September is to better structure night and weekend service so that it does exactly what you are talking about.

We would like to see groups buses that head in the same general direction be offset so that even if somebody missed their particular bus, customers would have the choice of catching the next bus and walking to their destination rather than waiting up to an hour for the next departure to their destination area.

Also, just to clarify for SRTC Staff, under the Draft Recommendation, you would not lose mid-day service. There would continue to be select mid-day trips on Route 74 and the new Route 98 would provide all-day service from the Valley Transit Center to the Liberty Lake Park and Ride.

There is still time to review and comment on the Draft Recommendation found here:

SRTC Staff said...

Thanks Joel. Sorry for the mistake, I didn't mean to imply mid-day service was being completely cut on the 74, just that it's being 'cut down.' Speaking to some of the folks who ride that route recently, I've heard a lot of buzz about the new route 98, so word is getting out there. And people seem pretty receptive to it.

Letters Samples said...

Hmmm! Interesting post and more interesting is contribution of people in the comments. Thats good

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SRTC is the federally designated Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) for Spokane County. Urbanized areas with populations exceeding 50,000 people are required to have an MPO. SRTC was formed to address the county's transportation planning needs. It provides coordination in planning between the public, cities, small towns, the county, the state, transit providers, and tribes.

SRTC offers services including transportation monitoring, transportation modeling, census information analysis, travel demand forecasting, historical traffic count analysis, geographic information systems, and trip generation rates.