Last year, C-Tran’s told citizens that they would have to cut service by 35% to their most needy riders if they did not get a 40% increase in funding. (Hear Marc Boldt’s robo-call here). C-Tran told citizens they could not provide sufficient bus service along Fourth Plain. C-Tran had 17 extra buses available during peak hours and $49.7 million in extra cash, but had not added any buses along 4th since 2008.
Citizens gave C-Tran a 40% sales increase last year by passing Prop One. Since that increase, C-Tran received an additional $2 million in a federal grant and bought 4 new buses at a cost of $705,000 each. They raised fares and announced that they plan to raise fares every year. The new buses get around 5 miles per gallon compared to the normal 3 to 4 miles per gallon.
C-Tran did not improve service, but says that increase was only to keep providing existing service, which is inadequate. C-Tran gave raises to their staff but did not add any buses to Fourth Plain to improve service.
C-Tran says that their buses are so full on Fourth Plain, that adding more buses won’t help. Instead, their plan is build the first of four super-bus systems (called Bus Rapid Transit, BRT systems), with Fourth Plain being first leg of a system that will ultimately cost hundreds of millions.
C-Tran darkened the windows of their buses. So it is difficult to see inside to observe how many riders are onboard. But something seems to not be adding up. C-Tran says that there are so many riders, that they must build massive new projects.
The Fourth Plain BRT leg is projected to cost up to $55 million up front. C-Tran says it will save around $800,000 per year, but they are asking voters for this Prop One sales tax increase to pay for the extra cost each year. C-Tran has not yet explained how that math works.
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