Wednesday, December 30, 2015

This could go poorly

This is Joseph

Seattle voted for extra money to improve transit service in Seattle via a special Seattle-only levee.  This seemed to be a promising improvement in administration -- jurisdictions that wanted more service could pay for it.  This isn't working out quite so well in practice:
This isn’t surprising, as the suburban and small town/rural parts of Metro’s service area are over-represented on the board, and they’re simply fighting for their interests. But the risk to the (high-performing, heavily used, high farebox-recovery*) core Seattle routes might be more palatable given that Seattle’s prop 1 funded service hours make Seattle seem flush with service, such that they can afford to give it up. To take Prop 1 money and use it to pay for non-Seattle routes would be flatly illegal, but to achieve the same allocation of service hours through a change to the service revision guidelines isn’t. If this has a significant impact on future service allocations, it’ll be in the direction of reducing frequency in Seattle, keeping the kind of frequency that might support car-free living out of reach, while subsidizing commuter bus service that makes autocentric (for all but commuting to work) sprawl more viable.
This approach, if it remains, is a very bad use of incentives.  The places that decided not to fund additional services get them via a change in the service revision guidelines simply means that Seattle is paying for everyone's transit.  That isn't exactly a good basis to make future transportation policy on as this would eventually make the Seattle folks think they are being played for suckers. 

Hopefully wiser heads will prevail. 

No comments:

Post a Comment