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

Monday, June 15, 2009

Comparing futures


Board of Directors Expected to Approve Fare Increases and Service Reductions Proposed for September 2009

If you don't know what's coming, read the press release or this post or this post or this post or this post. It's endless. And it is depressing.

And it is in that context that RT's invitation for people to Provide your Final Comments on RT's TransitAction Plan! this Thursday is just so ... well, pathetic.

Join RT's General Manager and Planning team who will discuss the draft TransitAction Plan. Review maps and information specific to your community and provide your final comments on this new vision for transit in the Sacramento region.
  • DATE: Thursday, June 18, 2009
  • TIME: 5:30 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.
  • LOCATION: Tsakopoulos Library Galleria, 829 I Street, Sacramento (East meeting room)

Industrial Workers of the World organizer Joe Hill coined a phrase that fits
Sacramento Regional Transit's vision for the future: pie in the sky.
You will eat, bye and bye,
In that glorious land above the sky;
Work and pray, live on hay,
You'll get pie in the sky when you die.
We'll get TransitAction, alright -- in heaven after we die.

Now I have to explain. What's really, really bothering me is that no one, except maybe the staff at RT -- not the board, no way, but maybe some of the staff -- believe in transit's value. To appreciate what believing in transit means and requires, look at China:
Beijing will transform into a "public transport city" by 2015. In peak hours, the minimum departure interval for subway trains will be shortened to 2 minutes; the waiting time at bus stops will be reduced to 3 to 5 minutes; public transport will account for 45 percent of the journeys in downtown areas. (See this story)
Now I'm old enough to remember the wild promises of the former Soviet Union and the failures of that corrupt command economy. So maybe there's more than a hint of totalitarian hyperbole in the forecasts. Still, China is aiming for this in five years, not 25 years.

RT's TransitAction is service cuts and fare increases and pie in the sky, bye and bye.

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