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, October 28, 2008

Fare hike? No more free ride for disabled? No news here

So this morning I'm on the train back to Oakland. I'll be in San Francisco for part of the day at the Rail-Volution convention. Transit has become an even bigger deal for me since I was laid off by The Sacramento Bee.

Yesterday, I left work early so that I could attend part of Sacramento Regional Transit's board meeting. I arrived in Sacramento at 6 p.m. and caught a No. 30 bus to 28th and J Street. I arrived at the RT headquarters at 28th and N a little after 6:30 p.m., just in time to catch the discussion about the measures that would be needed to fill the hole torn in the budget by the state's theft of money RT had been counting on.

Big news. Or not.

The Sacramento Bee had its regular transportation beat reporter at the meeting. RT had given him a stack of paper several inches thick of background information -- paperwork not given to me or any of the others in the audience. He followed along in the material as the presentation was given. He had everything needed for an excellent "news" story and access to anyone on the staff if he had a question. The vote was over by 8 p.m.

Having watched all that on my own time as a private citizen, I was curious what The Sacramento Bee would publish in today's paper.

The Sacramento Bee is available for free on Amtrak trains in the morning. I don't know if Amtrak is treating or The Bee is giving the paper away. This morning I picked up a copy and paged through it looking for the story about the fare hike in January and how the handicapped riders would lose their free rides in December.

I paged through the paper a second time. I started this blog post. Stopped and paged through the paper a third time. I searched for "Regional Transit" on sacbee.com.

Nothing.

On the front page, The Bee announces the early results are in on The Bee's comics poll. "In the early returns, 85 percent of voter's lists include "Zits," with "Luann" and "Pickles" in a tie for second."

And on the "front" of the Business news, deep inside "Our Region," was the headline "Bee's paid circulation declines 4.2 percent."

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