Mass transit ridership

by thoughtfulconservative

From the Regional news in Saturday’s Milwaukee Journal Sentinel,

Although Milwaukee County Transit System ridership fell 9% last year, three suburban transit systems posted gains, as did Amtrak’s Milwaukee-to-Chicago Hiawatha line, transportation officials reported.

Among area bus systems, Waukesha Metro Transit recorded the biggest rise – 9%, to 778,845 – followed by Kenosha Transit buses, up 3%, to 1.66 million, and Racine’s Belle Urban System, up 1%, to 1.16 million. Hiawatha ridership rose 5%, to a record 617,799, while Kenosha Transit streetcar ridership jumped 18%, to 62,643.

Ridership fell on the region’s four long-range commuter bus services, although not as sharply as in Milwaukee County. Transit officials reported declines of 3%, to 91,691, for the Washington County Commuter Express; 2%, to 83,171, for commuter buses connecting Racine with Milwaukee and Kenosha; 1%, to 599,932, for Waukesha County buses; and less than 1%, to 94,702, for the Ozaukee County Express.

Authorities cited rising gas prices as the most likely reason for the gains, but could not explain the decreases. [Emphases all mine]

Obviously, the transportation officials have not been reading the left-leaning blogs. They can already explain the decreases.

Clint explains why he stopped riding the bus. If transit is not convenient for people, they aren’t going to ride it, no matter how much money you throw at it. This includes the Milwaukee (“We’ve never seen a reason for a sales tax hike we didn’t like.”) Journal Sentinel’s suggestion.

This doesn’t mean that public transit can’t work. I believe it can. I think Madison-Milwaukee is ripe for a link. With the right schedule, say, for example, rush hour times, it might work. But buses have to run when and where people need them, not where politicians think they should run.

A Milwaukee-Chicago line could be useful also, but I doubt we need both Amtrak and a separate KRM line, especially one that bypasses Mitchell Airport. It’s got to make sense, or it won’t get used to its best productivity. And the Milwaukee county executive and mayors need to agree for some use of that $91.5 million. If Milwaukee county can’t agree, how are they going to convince the suburbs?

But, hey, if Milwaukee citizens want a sales tax, it’s their money.

Milwaukee county supervisor Joseph Rice suggests there may be other ways than increasing an already regressive tax.

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3 Responses to “Mass transit ridership”

  1. Apparently when Moses came down the mountain he forbade us from considering profit when we develop mass transit. If we want mass transit to work in this country…
    (1.) Get rid of stupid registration that prevents competition, like NY’s taxi tokens.
    (2.) Stop demanding that Mass Transit be a retarded/disabled circulator. You can’t ask a bus company to make money and make them pick up people society doesn’t want on the road for free.
    (3.)Kill Amtrak were appropriate so private lines don’t have to compete with heavily subsidized ones
    (4.)If a city must have subsidized mass transit to have any at all (and many must) then the city should offer the contract on a reverse auction. The company that provides the service with the least subsidy gets the contract.

  2. All excellent thoughts.

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