Some of you have already taken the Budget Survey FY2013 so what I have to say you’ve already seen. For others- this is my fair warning.
And yet, and yet…. I’m going to request that for ONE question you fill out this mangled piece of fail.
Before I give you the link, and to lower my own blood pressure, I’m going to point out the loaded language that is being used to obsfucate the magnitude of the fare issues for Metro Access riders.
“The American’s with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets fares for customers with disabilities who qualify for special paratransit services.”
Uhm, not special. Paratransit services are required by the ADA when transit systems cannot accommodate persons with disabilities. Jackson Graham, the designer of Metro Rail, designed the system for “anyone who could move unaided.” People with disabilities should stay quietly at home and molder in the corner like good little gimps. The Metro system has been retro-fitted somewhat but it isn’t 100% accessible 100% of the time. BECAUSE BUS AND RAIL ISN’T accessible you, WMATA, are REQUIRED to have paratransit. NOTHING SPECIAL ABOUT IT.
Oh, and they don’t mention – but some of the jurisdictions also rely on Metro Access to cover their paratransit requirement. And that $45? Well, the jurisdictions that are using Metro Access as their paratransit are sending money to Metro to cover their portion.
“According to ADA, the fare cannot exceed 2 times the cost of a comparable trip on either bus or rail. Metro complies with this law and sets a fare based on the comparable fastest trip on either bus or rail (up to $7).”
Ok. Two sentences here.
The first is mostly a factual statement. I say mostly because the ADA language is actually “comparable trip on fixed route transit”. I highlighted “cannot exceed”. In other words, WMATA cannot completely rape the disabled community (well at least no more than twice what they get from the rest of y’all when they talk you into dropping the soap in the shower).
In the second sentence: Metro “complies with this law”. How cool and groovy is that? ADA says “cannot exceed twice” and WMATA hears “we can charge them double”. And by the way, ”comparable fastest trip” is WMATA-speak for “most expensive trip”.
“The service is door-to-door and costs Metro, on average, $45 per trip.”
Now, the survey writer says, let’s throw some language in here that shades this into seeming like some sort of free ride that takes money from the everyone else and spends it on a bunch of entitled energy-sucks.
The service does work door-to-door: how else are you getting picked up at home, work or the doctor’s? If you could make it to that inaccessible bus stop in the pouring rain and wait for 2 buses that didn’t come to get on a 3rd that was standing room only, you wouldn’t need a car or van to come get you, right?
The cost per trip for Metro Access is shared out among the jurisdictions – The Bus, Ride On, Dash… all of the regional bus services are required by law to have paratransit service. Metro Access acts as the de facto paratransit for the Metro Area. It is a red herring to bring up the cost per trip since “the cost” is in part passed to the jurisdictions (based on pick-up location).
Skipping to their description of the AAC “alternative”:
“The proposed fare is 2 times the cost of a comparable trip on bus only.”
Actually the AAC alternative is two times the lowest cost of comparable fixed route transit. Many times that will work out to bus. Sometimes that would be rail.
What the AAC is asking is allow us to price our rides like a rational person would: we want the lower cost option.
“The savings to disabled customers would be a reduction of the average cost of paratransit services from $4.85 to $2.98. The new maximum fare for these customers would be $3.00 (from the current $7.00). This reduction in fare would cost Metro $3.3 million annually.“
Minimization strategy here – hey the gimps are only gonna save a couple of bucks but it is going to cost Metro MILLIONS.
So to rewrite the question the way the survey writer intends for you to read it:
There is this service that we have to provide for this group of people who have a special law and because they won’t stay home and hide behind closed drapes like good little gimps we have to provide them this horribly expensive service which (by the way don’t notice that we’re gouging them for every dime we can shake out) we want to raise this year.
We’re not going to point out that the maximum fare we’re considering for peak pricing on rail is $6.00 or that by doing away with peak-of-the-peak it’s going to cost us 16 million bucks. There are a lot more rail riders than there are gimps…. that’s why for the peak of the peak question we use positive words like “generates”.
So we’ll claw back 2 or 3 million dollars of the lost revenue from peak-of-the-peak by reminding you in one of the answer choices that you are going to COST Metro 3.3 million if the fare structure for Metro Access goes to twice lowest comparable fixed route.
And if you’re lost about why I’m perturbed about the fare increases, read this.
Then go fill out WMATA’s little survey. Answer the demographics questions and this one question – you can skip the other questions you have to hold your nose too much for but please help us get the Metro Access fare mess sorted out.
If you find their survey a little too constraining?
Send me email (HellOnWheelz at HellOnWheelz dot org). I will forward it on to the Advisory and Accessibility Committee who can place your concerns before the Board. The AAC is a rider group that is not filtered by Metro and has access to the Board.
Don’t take my word for it: