Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Trimet's latest boondoggle boggles the mind

Trimet is attempting to reinvent the wheel here with about $30 million in local tax payers funds that they just 'dug up somewhere'. Bells and whistles, that is what makes Trimet 'great'. They are clearly the leader among US transit agencies when it comes to the bells and whistles department.

 David Madore
What is it about TriMet that makes C-Tran so anxious to make them our master? Tonight’s Board agenda included 71 pages defining how TriMet is to become C-Tran’s sole provider for all financial services relating to fare collection and management.

With $1.8 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities and budget shortfalls that forecast a 70% cut in bus services, the financially troubled Portland transit agency,unable to adequately maintain its aging Light Rail system is not known for efficiency, economy, or innovation.

Yet they are expected to develop a multi-year custom hardware / software system to handle financial banking services, credit/debt sales processing, electronic fare collection, call-center operations, back-office operations, marketing strategy, customer communications, outreach, fare policy enforcement, governance structure, auditing, fare distribution, privacy, security, cost sharing, revenue collection and distribution, central server systems, card-based reader systems, application program interfaces, data processing, IT support, central database management, transit vehicle integration and development for TriMet Light Rail, Portland Street Car, the Portland Aerial Tram, the Portland Bureau of Transportation, the City of Portland, … and C-Tran.

Even an experienced high tech firm would likely not attempt to develop such a custom system with the risks. We ought not to expect the same bureaucracy that lost $200 million on a Light Rail Bridge-too-low boondoggle to be more successful than Cover Oregon, the bureaucracy that spent $240 million on a botched Oregon Health Insurance Website.

The alternative is for C-Tran to stop wasting millions on boondoggles and simply provide cost effective bus and C-Van service. Our financial report included in today’s agenda shows that bus ridership is still declining every year and far less than it was in 1998 as we keep raising our fares. We could set our fares to a quarter (25 cents) to fill our near-empty buses with riders while saving millions in nonsense.

See page 95 – 116

Original post is HERE

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