While the public comment period for the Budget and fare proposals is officially closed – the Board itself will not come to a final decision for around 60 days.
For those 60 days, I will continue to make my voice heard in the “public court” and hope that my readership (and the ridership) will continue to amplify this simple 2 point message:
The fare structure instituted in March 2010 was wrong.
The fare structure needs to be changed in a way that is equitable.
This is a continuation of an address aimed at the Board as a follow up on the meeting proceedings which can be heard here.
The part of this recording that I’m going to address is the numbers given on the paratransit ridership presented to the Board (from the 17:19 minute mark through 29:30 minutes).
These are the Access rider weekday rider numbers that are published on the WMATA website***:
The numbers are listed here in tabular form and come from the pdf documents listed at the end of this post:
So yes, ridership is down. There is the picture for you – the black line riders were paying $3 and the red line is where 50% of the riders are NOW paying $6 or more.
I heard the surprise in one Board member’s voice – are the mid-length trips disappearing and now only short and long trip riders are left?
It is NOT that simple.
Here is the next piece of what is being done to us… and some more clothing for your nakedness.
I bring you: The “any fare” calculation.
A. The “equivalent fixed route trip”
These 2 points are 4.5 miles away by vehicle and approximated 50 minutes by taking two buses.
Next we’ll pop online and make a reservation. The fare should be $3.00 (twice the cost of the fixed route equivalent of the bus) based on time requested.
B. The random fare calculator.
Yeah. That’s what it says.
Now here’s something many paratransit riders have learned – whether online or by phone. Decline the trip but keep working at making that reservation. Call back in a few minutes or resubmit the online form repeatedly.
Eventually you may score the trip with a more appropriate (or at least lower) price.
And here it is:
Notice 3 things:
- The requested pickup time for this trip is only 15 minutes different from the expensive trip.
- Your wait time (“the pickup window”) only varies by TWO minutes between the two trips.
- The fare has a $2.20 difference!
Two minutes, $2.20 on a one-way trip.
This is not an isolated incident or some magician’s trick.
This happens EVERY day for nearly ANY trip that is under the cap (and pushes others into the capped fare that should not be priced that high).
It’s up to the Board to end this poorly implemented fare concept for FY2013.
I hope this answers your confusion about where the “mid range” trips went.
It has nothing to do with length of trip and everything to do with the random fare calculator.
This is why when the talking point intones solemnly “twice the fixed route” and heads nod all around – it rings so closely to how wonderfully the Emperor’s New Clothes fit!
We know the truth. Now you do too.
This is only ONE of the reasons you are NAKED.
I’ll post more later. Lunch break is over and I have to go make some more money to pay for my $7 fares.
Performance Reports Posted on the Metro Access Subcommittee page on the WMATA website: