There is a certain happiness sighted when your bus comes along. It is of course a small specialized form of happiness and will never be a great thing.

-Richard Brautigan, The Old Bus

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

No foolin'

Yes, we're now a two-pass family. The wife did four days last week, and even with the missed connection on Friday and the dash to make a train another day, she still wanted to continue. Over the weekend, the wife purchased a new over-the-shoulder backpack to better prepare for the inevitable run to make a connection. Sacramento Regional Transit should consider selling these essential transit user accessories.

The kid was hoping his mother would lose interest since he has to get her to the bus stop each morning and pick her up in the evening, but I think my whining over the last year has inoculated her against most of the minor annoyances that come with relying on Sacramento Regional Transit to get to and from work. Really, the drama of getting a teenager up and out the door in time to take the wife to the bus stop makes riding RT look easy.

Using the monthly pass rather than buying daily passes will significantly reduce the wife's commute expense while simplifying the experience.

RT really needs to rethink its bus transfer policy. Making people pay an extra $2 for a second transfer is unreasonable, especially since its RT's fault that people find more than one transfer necessary to complete their trip. The wife's situation is a good example: She takes a bus to light rail (because buses have been turned into light rail feeder lines). She takes light rail for a short hop and then she boards a second bus to get within walking distance of her office. (And, no, she's not going to test Google Transit's one transfer and walk across Highway 50 suggestion.)

Since RT allows riders to buy all-day passes for $5, there is no reason to charge more than $2.50 for a single trip. And if RT's budget is based on tricking people into paying $8.50 for a round trip when an all-day pass costs only $5, then it deserves the declining patronage that it is seeing on its bus routes.

In a perfect world, the fare would be something less than $2 with transfers during the next hour free. In the less than perfect world that RT operates, a rider should pay just 25 cents for each transfer.

No comments: