Bush reg, feds end Metro special service to games
Absolutely outrageous. Here’s the Times article.
So the Bush administration put in this amazingly horrible regulation that public transportation agencies can’t (can’t) operate a charter like Metro has if there are private operators who can. Can’t compete… can’t operate. And, as I pointed out last time we talked about this, the way they did it meant that any moron with a school bus could claim they could serve the games and Metro would be entirely barred from trying.
The Seahawks already got hosed over this.
This is a great thing the M’s have done for ten years, and I love them for it. And now it’s dead. The M’s got a waiver last year. But now you’re screwed, because they can’t, soooo… So let’s talk about how this regulation’s working out.
The Mariners say Starline’s costs would have been around $15-20 per passenger. Fares would have paid $5 and the team would have paid $300,000 or more to defray the rest, Hale said.
Last season, the team got a temporary waiver from the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) to hire Metro, which charged $3 a ride, while the Mariners paid a $159,000 subsidy, said Hale.
That’s great! So Metro can provide cheaper service to fans and to the M’s, but they can’t. Because they’re barred from doing so. Oh, but here’s the money quote.
Starline argues that if Metro were to charge for its full costs, including the buses themselves, the bill would be much higher than what Starline seeks.
“The Mariners want the taxpayer to pay for it,” said Gillis.
This is the whole point of public transportation. The system’s in place. The incremental cost for Metro, which has buses, drivers, maintenance, and all that infrastructure in place is low. For Starline, which has to pay people like Chief Executive Gladys Gillis to make objectivist arguments about the societal cost of bus systems, it’s higher.
Unless the choice is “abolish Metro and have the smoking remains bid against charter providers” the clear and obvious winner of that competition is Metro. And because of this ridiculous reg, and the Obama administration’s baffling decision here, now everyone loses.
And it just got a lot harder to go to games — Hale said that shuttles served 300-500 last year, but here’s the thing: the shuttles provide greater value the higher attendance becomes. If there’s four people going to the game, it doesn’t hurt congestion downtown if they drive or not. But the more people and cars we try and stuff in, it doesn’t get +1 annoying for +1 driver, it quickly becomes +2 annoying, +3, and on and on. The shuttles are a huge, huge help there. I’d love to see numbers on how many people were taking them every day in 2001, for instance.