"First they ignore you. Then they laugh at you. Then they fight you. Then you win." ~Mahatma Gandhi
TriMet claimed that it wouldn't (or couldn't) use ARRA funds for bus replacements because they wouldn't create local jobs. That's why C-Tran, Cherriots, LTD all bought new buses.Those agencies are benefitting by having lower maintenance and fuel costs than before with newer buses. TriMet continues to have higher fuel and higher maintenance costs on its old, outdated fleet. Hmmmmmmm...Maybe firing some Union employees will solve that? Oh, the mechanics are union too...and they're already understaffed. Brilliant plan.Of those "jobs created"...how many of those jobs actually exist today? How many permanent, full time jobs were created by those bike parking improvements; by installing those Transit Tracker signs, by pouring concrete at a half dozen places? I'm pretty sure those jobs don't exist anymore...so we did a bunch of "nice to do" things, but that don't really provide or improve service, certainly don't decrease operating expense, didn't create any jobs...
Trimet hasn't been in the transit business since Fred Hansen, a light rail idealogue, took charge. If he was interested in providing "total transit " for the people, he indeed would have purchased new buses with those stimulus funds. The costs of having such an ancient bus fleet aren't limited to more gas guzzling and maintenance hours, the added toll on public health and the environment is considerable as well. But even more integral to the argument is the fact if you have newer, nicer, and cleaner buses, then you tend to attract more people and thus build ridership. For someone running a TRANSIT agency, this would not be difficult to decipher. For Fred and his light rail technocrat successor, however, it is nothing to be concerned with.
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