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).
I have one more piece to contribute to your understanding of the fares.
There are 2 types of fares:
- one-off trips
- recurring or subscription trips
A subscription trip is defined as a trip that starts at the same place and goes to the same destination at the same time on the same day in recurring weeks.
This type of trip has to be arranged for in advance and approved. Once it is approved, you don’t have to keep making reservations for that Wednesday 11am trip anymore – it is automatically programmed for you.
So what has this got to do with not understanding fares – with the nakedness of ignorance?
Because using the “Ride Guide” or any static set of bus and rail schedules will not accurately determine the fastest fixed route for Access fares and nowhere has this become more evident than with subscription fares.
The “any fare calculator” that determines fares does not use static route information for the bus portion of the calculations.
The bus portion comes from GPS information compiled by Metro Bus Operations.
What this means is that every detour, traffic slow down, or change in ridership pattern on a bus route (that is determined to be a part of your “equivalent fixed route bus ride”) affects whether your Access ride is calculated using a bus fare or if the fare switches to having a bus and a rail fare component.
Remember – we are talking about how much the ride costs. How much an Access ride costs has no bearing on how long the Access ride is going to take in terms of time (which is a whole other and MUCH longer discussion) or the distance to be traveled.
In practice then – tomorrow while you are taking your $3 subscription trip, the city decides to make repairs to the street your “equivalent fixed route bus” travels on. Next week (or the week after) when you board the Access vehicle you find your subscription trip is now $5.20 because of the reports to Bus Ops by the GPS of the accumulated changes in timing of that “equivalent fixed route bus” (which the computer then rejects in favor of a combination of bus/rail pricing as being faster).
The fact that the bus timings for “fastest fixed route” come from GPS compiled data do not affect just subscription trips – but it is in the recurring trips that the effects are the most confusing for people.
By contrast, the train component of the pricing is using a static schedule (like that of a printed brochure). Changes in rail service do not affect Access pricing – so even when large portions of the rail are shut down for 3 day weekends, Access fare pricing continues to show bus/rail combinations as the “fastest fixed route” when in fact this is FAR from the case.
I don’t understand how a reasonable person could find this method of fare pricing to be in any way justifiable. It is capricious. The vagaries are beyond the rider to control or influence.
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.