Make Them Pay

Anyone who is paying attention to the transit fight in Shah-lot (ahem....Charlotte for our brethren from up nawth) has had an earful from all those selfish people who want riders on Charlotte buses to pay their "full fare". [LTEs can be found here.] According to these folks, we wouldn't need a transit tax to subsidize bus riders if they were forced to pay a rate commensurate with the cost of their bus trip.


Let's see if I can't break this down for them in terms that their small little minds can wrap around, K? I know I don't need to explain this to anyone who reads here, so bear with me. Humor me. I just gotta get this out of my system.

Some people ride the bus because they have no other means of transportation. Some ride the bus as a matter of choice. Both types of riders provide benefits to our community - some of which can't be measured in dollars and cents.

First, by riding the bus, they've removed their vehicles from the road. This means less congestion, which means you're getting your whiney, selfish ass to work faster. How will you reimburse them for the time and gas they save you? Wait! Since it's all about you, this isn't something you've considered. I suggest you consider it.

Second, since there is less congestion due to the number of bus/train riders we do and will have, there are probably fewer car accidents. Again, a faster commute for you, but also lower insurance rates in the long haul. North Carolina already has pretty high auto insurance rates. How will you reimburse our bus/train riders for your stable or reduced insurance rates?

Third, fewer cars on the road mean cleaner air for everyone.....not just the people leaving their cars at home. How are you going to reimburse the bus/train riders for the cleaner air you're sucking into your lungs, eh? Haven't thought about that one, have you?

You know, I could keep going on and on about the benefits we all reap when folks ride the bus, but at this rate I think I've more than proven that our transit riders deserve a subsidized rate. Heck, if we reimbursed transit riders for all the benefits we share in due to their ridership, they'd probably be riding for free and I know you selfish people can't wrap your minds around that one. So, I'll stop here with this whole benefit/reimbursement discussion for now.

I do need to make one more point though and it is admittedly a touchy one on both sides.

The transit tax is a sales tax which means it is regressive - taking a higher percentage of income from low and fixed income families. It is these riders that all those selfish LTE writers are targeting with their whole "pay the full rate" crap. They just hate that their tax dollars are going to help people who aren't just like them.

Since many low and fixed income families aren't property owners, making the transit tax a sales tax means that these families are paying their share. That's probably another little tidbit, you haven't even tried to wrap your mind around.

So, next time you're humming along down the road at a decent clip or taking a nice big gulp of clean air, think about the transit riders who helped make that possible. Or, next time you pull up beside a city bus, smile and wave to the riders and mouth the words, "thank you." A little gratitude wouldn't kill you, you know.


Who changed the type size?

My eyes aren't getting any younger, you know. :)

Ooops...forgot the link to the LTEs.

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

Riding the bus is free in Chapel Hill

It's a public service, that has all the benefits you describe - and then some. The need to continually expand parking in commercial and business districts could and should be greatly reduced. That means more room for higher-value construction, less impervious surface, less stormwater run-off, less sprawl, etc.

I'm so used to free busing that I now find it odd to pay

I've been riding the free bus in Chapel Hill for years now, and I ride the Robertson (Duke-provided UNCDuke bus) to work most days, which is also free. I've gotten so used to it that when I get on a bus that I have to pay for, I have to remind myself ahead of time that I need to pay to ride the bus.
- BJ

- BJ

Chapel Hill busing is great

It's such an efficient system, and the online bus tracker is amazing.

I studied abroad in Spain, and on any major street in the city (Salamanca, about Winston-Salem/Durham population) you could count a bus coming by every 10 or 15 minutes, at least. That, plus the greater numbers of bikes and motorcycles, as well as pedestrian-friendly streets, made the streets much less congested than they are here.

Also, check out to see how walkable your community is. I bet most of Charlotte would fail.

This is why you shouldn't

try to sell public transportation as a "self-sustaining" enterprise. It has so many benefits that aren't easily quantified, and until we shake our insular mindset, those who can't picture themselves riding the bus will resent paying for it out of their taxes.

"Shake our insular mindset"......... that kinda like pulling one's head out of one's arse?

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.

No, that's a "pantsular" mindset.

God that's funny. After I finish laughing, I'll remind myself that only idiots laugh at their own jokes. ;)

I laughed and I haven't even had a drink tonight

I'll be rolling around laughing once I've had a nip......or two. :)

Robin Hayes lied. Nobody died, but thousands of folks lost their jobs.

Vote Democratic! The ass you save may be your own.