So angry

I was angry when Mayor Dave recently proposed raising bus fares from $1.50 to $2 a ride.  This made me so angry, I could barely articulate the reasons for my rage.  This is Madison, WI not Chicago or NYC or any other major metropolitan area where such a fee may be reasonable.  As salaries are being cut, jobs lost and a general recession/depression sets in, this is the worst time to raise bus fares.  Particularly in my fair town, public transportation is used in disproportionate numbers by the less well-to-do.  [As I’ve said before, I am one of the only people I know who regularly takes the bus.  I do so because it is fairly convenient for me, parking is too expensive and I’m trying to do something environmentally sound from time to time.  Additionally, given that I refuse to bike in winter, it just makes sense most of the year.]  A fifty cent increase hurts everyone, but it is a particular smack in the face to those who make a paltry hourly wage.  Four dollars to ride round-trip in Madison!  Well, said the mayor, we must have this money otherwise we will be forced to cut services.  The Transportation Committee on the Common Council voted down the increase, but the Council overrode that vote.  Bugger!  So, now, here we sit at $2 a ride, one of the highest rates in the country.  Well, phew, we’re not cutting services.  Right?  Right!  Not only are we not cutting services, we’re increasing services!  And where?  Between the UW campus and the UW hospital.  Who rides this route the most often?  Well, I’d have to guess that it’s mostly students.  Students who get a free bus pass with their student fees.  And, I was told by my alder, that the contract for those passes was not in negotiations at this time.  So, basically, if all of this is true, the rest of us lowly busriders are just subsidizing a primarily UW student bus route.  WTF?

And another thing that really, REALLY pisses me off are these &^%$@#* “mobile billboards” or whatever the f— they’re called.  You know, the ones for, say, TQ Diamonds…A dumb truck drives around town with a big billboard-y type thing on its  bed with a sign for a dumb store in town.  Most often it is TQ Diamonds.  I don’t know where this shop is, but I hate it.  I called them once to tell them so, but it didn’t seem to have much of an impact.  In this economy and in this environment, what kind of insensitive moron do you have to be to think that advertising on a gas-guzzling truck for your blood diamonds is anything but a morally condemnable idea?  Dis-gusting.

Ok, sorry for the rant.  I’ll be nothing but sunshine tomorrow.


15 Responses to “So angry”

  1. 1 Kristin May 12, 2009 at 11:30 am

    Everybody sucks. They’re talking about cutting off the subway after midnight here. Great, so then I have to take a cab, even if it’s only midnight, and I’m stone cold sober (or close to it), and I use crowded stations where I feel comfortable.

    Everybody sucks.


  2. 2 kateandgracie May 12, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    Yeah, sucky peeps. I also want to be clear that I am not all moralistic about taking the bus. In fact, today I drove. If I were rich, I suspect I would mos def drive. I just want to say, shut it with your fare increases. FY.

  3. 3 Sarayu May 12, 2009 at 4:32 pm

    Disgusting indeed! It seems, as often is the case, they’re raising costs in areas that affect the people who can afford it the least! When will the people in charge start getting a handle on these things! It’s rather unsettling.

  4. 4 Sara H May 13, 2009 at 9:13 am

    I think $2 is pretty expensive, and it’s egregious to be increasing services when you allegedly have such a big deficit. I will say, however, that buses and transit are particularly sticky when it comes to funding and policy. Do we increase property taxes or fares? Who should be paying? Which is a more sustainable way to fund transit? Do we have a transit sales tax?

    What I can’t figure out is why Madison bus service is so expensive such that $2 is needed. I mean, either you have low ridership and you’re over-servicing, or you have plenty of ridership to pay for your service. Where’s the fat here? It’s not like there are buses running to where I live in Oregon. I guess, Kate, maybe it’s the university area stuff!

    I do not understand these mobile billboards.

  5. 5 gracieandkate May 13, 2009 at 8:24 pm

    Yeah, that’s the thing — I agree that it can be tricky. I guess I just don’t buy that it really was tricky in this case. I mean, it’s always hard — I pay tons of property taxes (about $3500/year) and I don’t use what a lot of the money goes to — schools. But that’s ok. I like funding public schools. In many ways, we all benefit from the services public schools provide, whether or not we have children that use them. And in many ways, we benefit from public transport if we don’t use it — one, it keeps more cars off the street, which is good for the environment as well as traffic, and it in maybe indirect ways allows places to keep wages down and that’s something that’s passed along to consumers (theoretically, at least). That’s the way it goes. But in this case, it just seems that the increase wasn’t even necessary. And that’s not tricky. It’s just maddening.

  6. 6 Sara H May 14, 2009 at 8:52 am

    Sometimes I wonder about the whole concept of property tax. I mean, I wonder about it all the time, since I have to in order to get paid, but just generally, you know, and principles of fairness. But I guess that’s any tax.

  7. 7 rose May 14, 2009 at 11:36 am

    What I don’t really understand is why my property tax in Baltimore City is so much more than those in Baltimore County (not to mention car insurance, etc..).
    They act like those in the county don’t use the city services? Why do all of those rich ppl who drive their big hummers into the city get to pay 50% of the insurance I pay? They are in the city just as much as I am and probably own and drive more cars than people who actually live in the city and don’t even own cars!
    I’m sure there are aspects about these things I don’t understand, but honestly it just doesn’t seem right.

  8. 8 gracieandkate May 14, 2009 at 1:10 pm

    Hee hee. You have to think about taxes for your job. That’s funny.

    I’m generally very happy to pay taxes, even though I know there’s so much waste. It’s just that in super tough times like these, I think increases in any place — property, transit, sales, etc. — need to be very carefully considered. Though, on the flip side, I do think that Wisconsin could raise its beer tax by the proposed 2 cents or whatever it is and no one would notice. That seems like a no brainer. I don’t even understand how the Tavern League can oppose that. Ugh.

    Rose’s comment reminded me that in Richmond there was a car tax. If you kept your car in the city, you paid a tax based on what it was “worth.” We do not do such a thing in this part of the country.

    On a brighter note, I am going to plunk myself down on the couch tonight for TWO straight hours of TRHONYC reunion show, seeing as how I missed part one on Tuesday. Don’t tell me what happens! I can’t wait!

    And then tomorrow, we’re off to Door County for the weekend! Hooray!!

  9. 9 Sara H May 14, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Amen on the beer tax. I think I would be willing to pay a wine tax.

    All my favorite subjects! Oh for the days when I used to think about transportation, vehicle registration fees and gas taxes in order to get paid. 🙂 I think VA has a super low gas tax compared to ours. I think Chi-town might have a wheel tax. But they have every kind of tax.

    Have fun in DC!! Are you taking the scenic route through Trivers to get there?

  10. 10 gracieandkate May 14, 2009 at 4:04 pm

    Actually, Ms. Sara, it is possible that we will be Two Rivers-ing it as we are dropping off Gracie Von Gracestofers half-way between here and Milwaukee.

    Speaking of Milwaukee, Go Brewers!

  11. 11 Sara H May 14, 2009 at 4:34 pm

    Say Hi Trivers for me!

  12. 12 gracieandkate May 14, 2009 at 5:08 pm

    I’m on it!

  13. 13 rose May 15, 2009 at 2:32 pm

    The women on the TRHONYC are totally crazy. I only watched the first half of the reunion so far.
    They said the taping took 7 hours!

  14. 14 Kristin May 15, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    OMG it was so awesome. I wish I could watch all seven hours.

  15. 15 Brady May 23, 2009 at 11:58 am

    Wow! $2.00? It costs only $1.50 a ride in San Francisco. Maybe that’s why California is bankrupt 🙂

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May 2009

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