Friday, May 19, 2017

Public Transportation - The transportation choice of last resort

TBARTA, decades in existence, 10s of millions spent and no viable product or plan yet on the street is not the answer.

St. Petersburg, Fl
Opinion by: E. Eugene Webb PhD
Author: In Search of Robin

It turns out that regardless of all the hype by the politicians, and the various public transportation authorities' public transportation is not all that popular with the public.

For some insight see:

Michiko S., Palmdale
It's just more convenient to use my car to get somewhere, especially as a single mother. I can't rely on public transportation that doesn't take me directly where I want to go. Carrying things on transit, like the groceries or other errands, is also challenging.
I work for a charter school as a substitute. When I get a phone call, I have to be there ASAP. I can't stand around waiting for a bus that only might come on time. After work, I have to go pick up my kids from school right away. Again, I can't take bus for that. It takes too long.

Want to see more? Click here: Disadvantages of using public transportation.

The real problem with public transportation initiatives such as the pending bill to redo TBARTA into a taxing authority is they don't get the fact that no matter how big, how much it sparkles public transportation in the Tampa Bay areas will always remain the transportation choice of last resort.

Recently, there has been much made of the drop in rider ship on both the HART and PSTA systems. You hear a lot of hyperbole but the real issue is the economy is better, people who could not afford a car and/or gasoline now can and they opt out of public transportation as soon as it is economically feasible.

In a densely populated low height development area like much of Tampa Bay and the surrounding areas where the defining lines between residential, retail, industrial and commercial are frequently blurred, last century transportation solutions will not be cost effective.

The great goal of Janet Long, Pinellas County Commissioner, and her sidekick Senator Jack Latvala of a light-rail system running through the Bay area is just simply not feasible. It is a 1990s idea that was not a very good idea in the 90s.

TBARTA, decades in existence, 10s of millions spent and no viable product or plan yet on the street is not the answer.

Changing the name and giving them taxing authority without public oversight will just create a political nightmare of cronyism and corruption that will produce no results.

For some idea of what lies ahead check out: Caitlin Johnston, Tampa Bay Times Staff writer, Creating one transportation planning agency for all of Tampa Bay won't be easy.

For now, Governor Scott needs to let this one die or simply VETO it with a message to all those who pursue mass transit and the political contributions that go with it to come up with a plan that works and keeps the public in charge.

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