Monday, October 24, 2011

Inspired by the Crain's Detroit letters to the editor

During my bus commute Monday morning, I came across two letters to the editor from the October 17th issue of Crain's Detroit Business that gave me opposite reactions, and I was thus inspired to write this post.
First, if you didn't see the news, the SMART bus system plans to cut 22% of bus service - here's some more background -

Now for the analysis:
From James Tocco -
"It is inconceivable that our civic leaders cannot find the resources to manage and even improve our much-needed mass transit system. Wouldn't an improved and expanded modern bus system serve better than the ground service rail that everyone appears to be fixated on?"

From Mike Butts (and I'm sorry for your last name, dude, but that doesn't excuse this clearly uninformed comment) -
"Wow, this means 22% fewer empty buses cluttering up the road."

Starting with Butts, this individual CLEARLY has never been on a local bus. Those that follow our Twitter feed and blog, know that we are often stranded due to lack of bus service AND lack of open bike racks. Mike Butts, if you an happen to read this, I invite you to ride with Two Women Four Wheels one day. Could you handle it?!
There is a clear need for mass transit in the Detroit area, which brings me to the comment from Tocco. I like it. The bus system is there, let's improve it rather than defund it, and see how FULL those busses are - I am not a betting person but I would put some serious money on this. I do support the rail system, but I also understand his point. If we can't keep our bus system funded, and cause people to seek out non-public transit alternatives - what message does that send to the various funders of our rail project - which include the federal government? We have this great system already, we should spend our money wisely, and USE it.

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