Sunday, May 11, 2008

Bus Fareness Update

The Bus Fareness Coalition held a public Town Hall meeting on April 3rd at the downtown public library. The purpose was to encourage bus riding citizens and those that support them to speak out regarding the arrogant and non-responsive treatment the average bus rider recives at the hands of the Rochester Genesee Regional Transit Authority. There was a list of concerns but the overall key point focused on the long term practice by the officials at the Transit Authority of demonstrating a total lack of respect for the needs of the average riders. Instead if a corporate business or a City official interested in matters that speaks to business interests have a demand, they are right there. The Authority boosts they hold their own Town Hall meetings but few attend and since there are different persons attending at each meeting, there is no effort to organize a real bus riders response. Another pattern with the RGRTA is to select issues of concern to them and to make an ad like statement to the media with no counter information by those affected, namely the riders who depend totally on the bus to meet many daily needs. This is not just job related. It also affects riders who must often carry groceries, household supplies and other heavy items and abide by bus schedules that often double the time each rider must take to do daily errands. Greater availability to bus schedules, timely modernazation of the shelters and bus overcrowding are problems that have been been neglected for years.

Recently the RGRTA announced they may lower bus fares by one dollar. This is curious as they had recently sited some lose over last year's budget. It does appear however, that again this may be directed at business interests both who have left the city and those who plan to move to the city after being located in the suburbs. Since riders in these situations usually have a destination of downtown and return home, they would benefit from the $1.oo reduction from the current $2.50 for the same travel. However, since most city riders do not work downtown and use the bus for other needs as well they would pay more. To covers thier costs they would have to continue to purchase the $3.00 day pass. This is their only option since the RGRTA discontinued the use of transfers in 2006. We have asked that the day pass as well as the other passes be lowered at the same time the fare becomes $1 so all can benefit. We contacted the media to inform the public of this solution.

We are unsure if the City administration's is in support of our request to have a citizen review board that would relate to the City in oder to assure interests of bus riders are heard and changes made. It is our belief such an approach is legal and would not interfer with the current Board structure which is set up at the state level. The City has members on the RGRTA Board which if they chose could work with us and represent these issues to the Board at their monthly meeting which at this time does not happen. We plan to meet directly with the Mayor's staff to clarify our poisiton and plan. It is our hope that the City and the City Council will agree to endorse our plan which can only strengthen community involvement. As stated previously the lack of a voice for the average city resident is deafening!

Bonnie Cannan CoChair GPOMC

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