Letter: Island Transit fares should do no harm, minimize impact

Editor,

Tom Walker, in a letter to the editor in the June 2 South Whidbey Record made a compelling argument that the economics of the proposed fare increase don’t add up. I concur, and I would make several additional points.

Before a decision is made regarding this fare plan, I suggest the following:

The compelling motto of the Island Transit should be to “do no harm” to the persons needing transit services the most. Any fare increase should spare those who need, and who would feel the impact the most. This seems to be the thinking behind the proposed “Ride Pass Grant Program” but it falls way short.

Under Social Equity Considerations, Island Transit would provide one day passes to eligible 501.c.3 organizations and government agencies for distribution to those in need. This does not even qualify as a half-hearted effort! How will the needy find and get to one of these agencies in the first place? And would they need to return each time if they have ongoing transportation needs?

OK, let’s think further about how Island Transit could minimize the impact on those who most need bus services and can least afford it. How about free ridership to the working poor, the homeless, disabled and unemployed? Allow social service agencies to issue not just daily, but monthly — at least — passes to qualified individuals using their guidelines. Add to that school-age kids and the elderly.

Island Transit’s economic analysis projected a 30-40 percent decline in ridership the first year, with recovery expected over 4-5 years. I believe this decline would be disproportionately borne by those I listed above. Unfair. I can’t help but think this decline in ridership would be considerably less if these groups of riders were exempted.

I urge Island Transit to revise its financial impact analysis with these considerations in mind.

I have other questions: First, what to charge commuters going from the ferry to a park-and-ride? Second, what about the enforcement burden on bus drivers? I believe it should be minimal. Rather than a strict approach, have drivers give riders a handout explaining the fare policy and exemptions for those who don’t or can’t pay.

My bottom line: avoid any fares if possible. If not, do no harm to those most in need.

Dale Christensen

Clinton

More in Letters to the Editor

Letter: Fear Navy wasn’t working in good faith now confirmed

Editor, I read in the Feb. 2 South Whidbey Record on Feb.… Continue reading

Letter: Something must be done now about global warming

Editor, Climate change is happening now. The latest climate report from the… Continue reading

Letter: Parks and Rec has work to do before asking for money

Editor, Your two front page articles in the Jan. 30 edition of… Continue reading

Letter: Exposure to jet noise is harmful to your health

Editor, Noise exposure from military jets has long been shown to cause… Continue reading

Letter: Wondering if the Navy has problem with credibility

Editor, The Navy Growler EIS makes dubious assertions, as well as verbal… Continue reading

Letter: Fractional reserve lending a good deal for state residents

Editor, Former state treasurer Duane A. Davidson is opposed to the citizens… Continue reading

Letter: Patriot Prayer can’t decide law is unconstitutional

Editor, First, a quote: “Like most rights, the Second Amendment right is… Continue reading

Letter: Dams came at high cost to tribes dependent on salmon

Editor, “Urgent warning: Elected officials, if breaching does not begin this winter,… Continue reading

Letter: Name is Tokitae — don’t label her a ‘killer whale’

Editor, I was very heartened to read Patricia Guthrie’s article about the… Continue reading

Most Read