Your Bus Is Caught in Partisan Cross Fire

Why the $20 Car Tabs May Fail—and Kill Lots of Bus Service

Comments

1
Thing is, do we really need a #14 bus when the #49 basically goes the same direction, its only 3 blocks away in parallel? Oh noes, I have to walk 3 whole blocks!!

Seriously, some routes can be cut and when they are, if Metro is still in danger, then we should vote for an increase in the car tabs.

NOTE: Dont own a car, never have owned one. 40 years old, life long user of mass transit.
2
I like transit, will vote for.
I hate sheriff, want fired, did not vote for.
3
@Kinison They won't just be eliminating extra, under-used routes. They will be eliminating routes that are already over-crowded. Many of the ones listed are routes that I have had trouble getting a seat on. This would be so devastating. $20 is nothing in light of what we would be losing. And I'd be one of the people to pay the tabs. It's a small price to pay to keep me from HAVING to drive.
4
The 43 is such a staple of my life. I don't own a car and I require it to travel everyday to and from work, plus all weekend and night trips downtown or to Ballard. I'm starting to feel like it wouldn't be an understatement that my standard of living would go from wonderful to horrible if I lost the 43.
5
@1,

The 14 could stand being cut back during non-peak hours, but it is infinitely cleaner and more reliable than the 49, and, frankly, has fewer (quite literally) insane passengers.

Also, those several blocks (not three) between the 14 and 49 on Capitol Hill are uphill.
6
@1
The 14's proposed cut is to eliminate the Capitol Hill half. It would save most of the service on the south half of the line, running a short loop from Downtown to the Mt Baker Transit Center.
7
20 bucks extra to drive on the weekends in exchange for the bus service I use every weekday sounds like a pretty good deal to me.
8
Let them ride cake.
9
@3 - Baxter

I understand that, its not just trying to get up the hill from downtown. Routes like the 41, where it often standing room only during peak times, yeah those are going to suck. But there are some routes they can eliminate, say the #14.
10
Ha :) @8
11
Do we really need the 43 and 8 bus when people on Capitol Hill can easily skateboard instead?

Check the list - they're on there.
12
The gutless weenies who make up the City Council should just do their jobs, and stop running to us every time they want to raise a tax. It's like the twerps are begging for their weekly allowance.
13
Yeah. Let's talk about us for a second. Places like Ballard. Wallingford. Fremont. Maple Leaf. Greenlake. West Seattle. The C.D.. We're fucked if this service is cut. We're fucked big-time. I'm not just talking about people who will be pushed into driving instead of riding transit - What happens to shift workers when they cut evening and non-peak-commute service for a lot of these routes, or eliminate them completely?

Pretty much every comment thread on every online paper I've seen discussing this is full of loud anti-tax shills screaming how they don't take the bus.

Fine, you worthless pricks. I don't take the Viaduct ever. Can I just not pay for that monstrosity someone decided to replace the Viaduct with?

I didn't breed. Can I decide not to pay taxes to support your wretched little spawns' education?

No. Obviously I pay for these things because I belong to a fucking society.
14
Well put, SOM.
15
Why not put a tab on bikes as well since they use the road similar to cars...
16
@13 Thread complete.
18
The 14 and 43 are my two most-used busses, and have been for years. The gutting of downtown service continues. Ever since Metro stopped being a City of Seattle department (1995) and was shoved out to King County by Ron Sims and Gary Locke. Now downtown / cap hill residents get busses taken away regularly while one-way commuter hauls from Issaquah pull in downtown every day. The downtown busses get used more, but the out to suburbia busses have more employee miles and reimbursement dollars behind them.

The 14 and 43 are packed daily, but I don't suppose that matters to these so called traffic planners at Metro.

I have lived on the hill 20 years, and am fed up with Metro catering to out of town one-way commuters above and beyond providing core services to residents.
19
Even if you don't take the bus, your ass should gladly pay $20 to stop me and every other bus rider from driving to and from work, clogging up our streets even more.
20
@17, Wtf?!? Have you ever even ridden the bus, or do you just peddle your candy-colored fixie to Trader Joes twice a week? You suck!
21
....oops, I meant pedal. The things the n word will do 2 u. I have a collage deggre promise
22
Clap Clap #13
23
According to Pete von Reichbauer, cuts will happen regardless of whether or not the temporary $20 car tab is approved (re-posted from a listserv I belong to):

Dear XXXX:

I am writing to you in response to your e-mail regarding the Congestion Reduction Charge ordinance No. 2011-0287, 2011-0288 and 2011-0289 introduced to the council on Monday, June 20th 2011.

Like every household in America, our government agencies need to be held accountable for their budgets. While I agree that public transportation plays a pivotal role in both our community and economy, taxing people for choosing to drive sets a precedent that allows the government to temporarily fix problems at the expense of an already financially strained public. It is important to note that bus route cuts would be made in addition to the $20 tab licensing fee. Meaning, with or without the $20 licensing fee, cuts to bus routes will have to be made. To improve Metro’s operating efficiency, busses will only run that people want to ride and will reflect ridership demand.

It is important for policymakers and citizens to remember the repercussions that tax and fee increases have on their neighbors. Individuals are already dealing with increased gasoline prices and many can’t afford any additional expenses. For all of these reasons I am opposed to the Congestion Reduction Charge ordinance, calling for a $20.00 per car licensing fee increase.

Please visit King County’s Metro Customer Service website for information about potential route changes: http://metro.kingcounty.gov/cs/feedback_… or call 206-553-3000.
With best wishes,

Pete von Reichbauer
King County Councilmember
6 July 2011
24
the more services they cut to the non-seattle parts of the county, the more those people get pissed that you are taking their money and not giving them anything and the less likely they are to vote for your increases.

seattle is a navel-gazing city that seems to forget there is anyone else out there or that they are a major metropolitan city that serves as an economic anchor for the region.

this is another example. the same thing has already happened in pierce county, where the more rural voters in february had a choice of increasing their taxes while losing service to the city or not increasing taxes and losing services to their cities. predictably, they voted down the increase.

the out-lying areas pay in as well and will continue to vote against measures that consolidate service in seattle while continuing to be subsidized by those who are losing service.

so you can be as pissed as you want @18 about seattle losing routes, but without the sales tax money collected by the people whose routes you want taken away instead of your routes, you lose anyway...

25
Julia Patterson sounds like an utter imbecile. I ride the 150 from Seattle to my job in Tukwila every day and the buses I ride are packed both ways - standing room only on the Northbound buses at rush hour. The 101 and 106 are much the same both ways to Renton.

But, by all means, let her cater to her car-driving constituents over the bus-riding ones. Stupid twat.
26
The major flaw in this legislation is asking the majority of citizens to pay for a service that they never use, while the people that ride metro get a free ride. The first well that the council should go to is the population that actually uses the transit system. Is anyone talking about raising bus fares?? I don't have a problem with a tax increase to save the transit system, but I do have a problem with taxing everyone but the direct benefactors. This is tantamount to taxing everyone without kids to save the public school system.
27
@ mac574
"The major flaw in this legislation is asking the majority of citizens to pay for a service that they never use, while the people that ride metro get a free ride."


How often can you possibly contradict yourself in a single paragraph you self-important jerk. I have a car, and I also pay for tabs. It is not my fault or my problem that you choose to sit in gridlock for your morning commute, if that happens to be your case.

I'm one less car on sitting on the highway in front of you in the morning because of my decision to ride. I have that choice. Others are not so lucky. Get over that poor ol' me sense of entitlement. We live in a civilized society. It's not free. We share the sacrifice.

This is tantamount to taxing everyone without kids to save the public school system.
Who the hell do you think paid for they themselves to go to school? Are you really that thick or do you just not ruminate on these things before you say them?
28
I have a car and I pay tabs, sales tax, payroll taxes, property tax and federal income tax. I pay for my own bus pass to go to work in downtown Seattle. Doesn't the money I pay for my taxes apply to road maintenance in all of King County? Would the people of Kirkland or Kent or Des Moines like for us to park our cars in front of a stoplight on their main street? I think we should all find a busy county road in the burbs on the day of a festival or sporting event and just park our cars on their main streets or in front of their homes, blocking all traffic. We should raise money beforehand to pay for any traffic violations, or just suck it up. This shouldn't be just the end road of 30 years of Reaganism. It should be the beginning of the time we all do a little something to make one big thing.
30
I drive a car (because I commute out of the Seattle area) but I've lived in the CD 20 years and I would pay three or four times the car tab to keep bus service going or even to actually *gasp* improve the system we have.

31
Get rid of the union. 50% drop in transit cost. Tah-DAAAAH.
32
@26

Have you been on a Metro bus lately? I'm guessing no. "Free ride" it is not. Not even close.

And if we start taxing only bus riders for Metro service, can we charge you a douchebag tax? Not everyone is a douchebag, and you seem to be abusing the privilage.
33
Fine, you worthless pricks. I don't take the Viaduct ever. Can I just not pay for that monstrosity someone decided to replace the Viaduct with?

The majority rules. Instead of whining about how the bus is your entitlement, how about trying to persuade me to vote for your priority? I just might listen. But if you yell at me, well, I don't like people who do that, and as a result I just might vote "no." You can double that probability if you call me a worthless prick.

By the way, how about doing something really innovative and living closer to where you work?
34
well you little sissy's and wimps have chimed in now it's my turn . hows about we do this while we are at it . lets make every one who rides a bike buy a set of plates for it like a car at about 75 bucks a piece , and then tabs for 65 bucks a year, require mandatory insurance on said bikes just like a car, have those bikes brought in once a year for a safety inspection at say oh 30 dollars a pop . then we can raise the rate of a bus ride to ten dollars a day with a 12 hour pass so you can go to and from work on one fee . cut the bus routes that are half full or less . then if you do all that i will gladly pay 20 bucks more for my car tabs , since i pay more than those above mentioned fees now to drive to work . fairs fair , lets all pay the same to get to work like good little commie-crats . man alive if that doesn't pay the bills for that bus , get rid of the fuckin things they are too expensive .
35
@34

There is a reason you pay more in taxes to drive than to ride the bus or bike. Cars cause more emissions, take up more space on the roads and cause everybody else to have a longer commute. Cars cause significantly more life threatening accidents, and promote an inactive lifestyle.

Additionally, an effective bus system is beneficial to regular commuters, which is why it makes sense to tax everybody. Many of the routes they plan to cut are already standing room only, and run every 15-30 minutes. Assuming everybody would drive if their route was cut, this would add an extra 100-200 cars per hour per on streets that are already at capacity at rush hour. Not to mention the drunk driving that routes on Friday/Saturday night prevent. So think of it as a $20 gridlock/drunk driving prevention tax.
36
hmmm 30 dollar tabs somehow turned into 60 dollar tabs with the vehicle weight and rta tax thats being thrown in, now another 20 dollars? for what? for roads that are falling apart? for the stupid new bike lanes? here a great idea... lets take away lanes from the very people paying for them and give them to the idiots who pay no taxes! maybe there should be a new 20 dollar bike registration fee instead!
37
We are all forced to pay for roads through taxes but only those rich enough to own a private auto should be able to use them. Bull shit. Tax me for the roads, tax me for mass transit to use the roads. Heck even let ambulances and firetrucks on the road for free. But owners of private vehicles should be taxed/charged an enormous amount to use these public assets. Let gas be $6 or $7 a gallon, let car tabs be $365 a year plus a percentage of the cars purchase price, but let the masses of civil society move in this society. Mass transit now, mass transit forever, mass transit for all. Yes I own and operate a private vehicle and I am NOT charged enough for this luxury.
38
But owners of private vehicles should be taxed/charged an enormous amount to use these public assets. Let gas be $6 or $7 a gallon, let car tabs be $365 a year plus a percentage of the cars purchase price, but let the masses of civil society move in this society. Mass transit now, mass transit forever, mass transit for all. Yes I own and operate a private vehicle and I am NOT charged enough for this luxury.

Good luck exporting your liberal guilt to all drivers. Maybe you need to get yourself an electric scooter or something, and leave the decisions to adults.
39
I do not consider my opinion "liberal guilt." I describe it as a pragmatic view of private use of public assets. Since I work in construction an electric scooter is not a reasonable choice for transporting tools such as table saws, chop saws, jack hammers, or lumber. I am merely stating that I am willing to pay for things that I use, and an extra $20 a year is a bargain for using public streets. For my non-work transit I like the water taxi and the bus. I can read, talk with friends, or take in the view of the city. Plus if I want to have a drink or smoke some weed I don't have to worry about killing someone while driving under the influence. Also if I am adult enough to be taxed, than I am adult enough to make decisions.
40
When I say "Class War",I mean Class War.War always involves violence.If you think votes and protests and telephone calls are gonna change things for the better,then you need to study history.
41
I am merely stating that I am willing to pay for things that I use, and an extra $20 a year is a bargain for using public streets. ... Plus if I want to have a drink or smoke some weed I don't have to worry about killing someone while driving under the influence.

Ah, yes, smoke some weed. That explains why your first comment favored raising gas prices (through taxes, I presume) to $6-$7 a gallon, and pricing car tags at $365 plus a percentage of the vehicle's value, while your second comment favored an extra $20 fee.

Never trust a stoner with the details. Which, come to think of it, might also apply to my choice of a contractor.

42
Get rid of Tim Eyman.
TA-DAAAAAAAAAAA!
43
I love the bus but I am not going to vote for the $20 Congestion Relief Charge. Everytime money is needed for parks, libraries, schools, and now buses - voters are asked to tax themselves and are given a guilt trip about not supporting this or that! It needs to stop because people in this state are already taxed enough and because this state does not levy corporate profits! Imagine who much money could be raised if the profits of Microsoft, Boeing, Starbucks, Google, Amazon would be taxed.
44
Um, they did come to the users of the public transit system first. The bus fare has been increased multiple times a year for several years now. And, many of us use the bus but also own a car. So the options are getting screwed one way or getting screwed another but getting screwed regardless. However, I'd rather pay the higher car tabs than to see that many routes cut. Anyone who pays taxes pays for things they use and things they don't use.
45
@43: Thanks for nothing.
46
@43 - your failure to vote in favor of the tax does not send any message other than that you wish to see bus service cut. There is no comment section on the ballot, so voting no does nothing to convey your concern.

47
Anyone wanna go in on buying a used bus or three? We could put up a Kickstarter for initial funds, hire a few soon-to-be-out-of-work bus drivers, and start ourselves a nice little independent transit cooperative.

Or, if real busses are too expensive, we could buy some VW minibusses and 15-passenger vans and do it Mexico-style instead.
48
Wow, a lot of a$$hats commenting. My wife and I are both bus riders and do not own a car or other vehicle. (And yes, we are both college graduates who work full time.) The bus fare has been raised EVERY year since I've lived here. And all the while the bus services have become more sparse while costing more. If you want to drive a private car (and ride, like most of you do ALONE in said car: guzzling gas and polluting the environment and congesting the streets) you SHOULD have to pay for such a luxury. It's just that: a luxury tax as far as I'm concerned. Why should we have who ride the bus have to be packed in like sardines (or worse, have the bus routes cut all together and not be able to get to work) because of you self-centered, entitled snots?
49
Why should we have who ride the bus have to be packed in like sardines (or worse, have the bus routes cut all together and not be able to get to work) because of you self-centered, entitled snots?

Keep it up, Venus. Make sure to tell the car driving majority that they are self-centered, entitled snots all the way up until the election. See how well that works out for ya. It's a good thing that I actually think pretty seriously about my votes, because if I voted on the basis of who is saying it and whether or not I like them, I'd be one more vote against the $20 fee. I'd want to penalize your kind just for being you.

But, in the end, I'll probably vote for the fee because I think it'd be bad for the region and a lot of the people who live here if bus service is crippled. Even if it would, on occasion, make me smile to know how much you would suffer for it.
50
My car registration just came. $30 tabs it isn't. I pay $133 RTA tax, $30 license "funds road construction", $10 "vehicle weight fee funds highway improvements, transit...", and more.

That weight fee is for a sedan. Not an SUV or truck.

So let's be clear... I'm paying for roads but paying much much more for the RTA.

And that's not all... 37.5 cents (about 10% now) of everything I spend on gasoline also funds roads and buses, to the tune of ~$250/year, along with the 10% sales tax. Plus federal taxes of 18.6%. For a tax-on-gas total of about $400.

That adds up to more than half-a-thousand-dollars in taxes just for me to have-and-drive the car. Without counting maintenance, non-taxed fuel cost, insurance, etc. Car drivers are not under-paying currently.
51
In a world where we are trying to rearrange our resources to improve, much less sustain, our quality of life, what is the big deal for penalizing/discouraging the use of cars??? If you already prefer to pay for insurance, tabs, and gas for a car over riding the bus, $20 is NOTHING.

If service is cut, the quality of Ballard/Greenwood/North Seattle will plummet. This is the perfect opportunity to embrace this as a communal problem that affects everyone, and do what would benefit Seattle as a whole.
52
Sounds to me like the bus drivers union will need to chip in more than they have.
53
Cars are going to end up paying more than $20 a year in gas just on the extra idle time when stop-and-go traffic gets much worse due to bus commuters having to drive.