Public Transit Cut Again

I had to take my car in for repairs yesterday and I caught a bus back home. I’d never taken the bus from Taunton Ave., and was pleased to find that the service is good. The bus was full.

One of the passengers was a disabled little girl in a wheelchair. Taking RIPTA saves somebody (state, feds, family or all three) over a hundred dollars each trip.

So I am bummed and frustrated to see this in today’s paper…

PROVIDENCE — The Rhode Island Public Transit Authority plans service reductions affecting more than 15,000 riders per year to help cover an estimated budget deficit of $3.7 million.

The cutbacks would take effect Aug. 28 and could affect as many as 18,000 riders, depending on how they are counted.

This is exactly the wrong thing for RIPTA and our state’s long-term economic health. People are using the bus to go to school and work, and night shift workers in nursing homes, college students, people who can’t maintain the expense of a car will be stranded.
We all pay taxes to smooth the highway in some town we’ll never visit and no one sees that as an entitlement. Why is public transit not given priority?

Anything ‘saved’ with these cuts costs in other ways. Increased burdens on working families, more rustbucket cars on the road, more congestion, pollution, accidents.

One reason elderly drivers won’t hand over the keys is because there are no good alternatives for transportation. And every extra five minutes you have to wait at the bus stop makes it less appealing to change old habits.

It’s also a matter of national security.

Just at the moment when the Deepwater Horizon BP oil spill has generated two months of non-stop headlines about the dangers of oil dependency and the federal government in America finally has something of a platform to call for Americans to wean themselves off oil dependency, cities, counties and states across the US are decimating their public transit systems and forcing people, willy-nilly, to return to their cars.

The huge public works program to re-route the highway along the waterfront is ongoing, and I hope will pay off. Public transit needs to take a higher priority if we are going to keep people employed and achieve energy independence.

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5 responses

  1. Good post but I would also note there is an opportunity for the public to comment at the hearings that RIPTA must hold These hearings will be held July 6, 7, 8, details are on the http://www.ripta.com website, but the Providence hearings are on Thrs July 8 at 2pm and at 6pm at URI-Providence. The RI Sierra Club is involved with this, you can acll them at 521-4734 for more information

  2. thank you, Barry. I’ll try to be there.

  3. Let’s see -they want to tax people with old cars out of being able to own one,and then cut public transit.
    The pigs in the GA got a 3.4% cola.
    SS recipients,federal retirees,and disabled veterans got no cola because the cost of living didn’t rise(except for RI legislators)-nice.

  4. Well, I actually own a ten-year-old car and pay very little in taxes. The expense is in the upkeep and insurance. It’s tolerable because the car is worth putting money into.
    I remember driving rustbuckets and it really feels awful to spend hundreds of dollars a month keeping them on the road, when you know it’s money out the window.
    Some of the nurses aides I worked with on the evening shift depend on the bus to get home late at night. A lot of people depend on those aides who are willing to work those hours at that wage. So we all need each other.

  5. The point I was making is that old cars like yours can suddenly be taxable again since the exemption dropped from $6000 to $500.Whether to implement it is up to the municipalities.What do you think they will do in Providence with all their financial woes?I really don’t know because there has been a deafening silence from the city government.
    If people can’t keep their cars,many could lose their jobs.A vicious circle caused by oppressive taxation of personal property.
    Sales tax is paid on a car at purchase-this car tax is akin to loan sharking.We already have registration and inspection fees.The tax is abusive.
    It obviously doesn’t go to support public transportation.
    I think Cicilline is laying low because he wants votes for his Congressional race,and I really hope he gets steamrollered in the election.

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