With all the state budget cuts, from California to MinnesotatoNew Jersey, it doesn’t appear that governors are sympathetic to, or aware of, the surge in demand for public transportation -- nearly paralleling the onset of the recession, with funding shrinking all the while.
Whether it’s Governor Christie, Pawlenty or Schwarzenegger in charge, it seems like they all share a slash-and-burn mentality when it comes to balancing the budget, and public transportation is extremely vulnerable.
Every day, I talk to industry professionals and read story after story about budgets being obliterated and crucial services like paratransit going away. The future of transit funding seems pretty grim, unless more public-private partnerships can be arranged, fast. Still, there are supporters out there fighting to keep public transportation going.
Last week in Milwaukeea group of community, business and labor organizations banded together to push for a bill to save the city’s struggling bus system. Supporters gathered to hold a news conference and shored up “letters of support signed by top executives of 40 businesses and 15 business groups; leaders of 23 unions and four labor organizations.” Advocates are also speaking out in Minnesota. A coalition of transit organizations protested the line item vetoes of a capital investment bill that, they say, will lessen the state’s ability to compete for federal funds.
So, there is some support for transit out there. Stories like this are encouraging, and, in times like these, I think we need more of them.
Do you have any of these stories to share? Is your agency getting support from or partnering with a transit advocacy or community group?
It drives me nuts when people litter. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people throw trash out of their car windows while they’re driving. I’m always tempted to honk my horn when I see drivers slyly ditching cigarette butts through their open window. Listen up, people. We see you!
Agencies that use Twitter to respond to users’ complaints or answer questions get more positive Twitter reaction and more civil discourse online, according to Lisa Schweitzer the author of a recent study analyzing tweets of public transit agencies. “It’s about the marketing potential of social media — a lot of public transit agencies are simply tweeting their problems to the world by blasting out late service announcements. That’s not a good use of Twitter,” she says. “Transit agencies can influence the tone of the discussion by interacting with patrons online,” Schweitzer explains. “It gives people something to respond to, and it reminds people that somebody is listening.”
Usually by early January, I will hopefully have taken down the last of our holiday decorations and eaten or given away the remaining sweets that have become a part of my regular diet during the month of December. Then, of course like most people, I’ll think about ways I want to improve myself for the coming year. Whether it be exercising more (walking from the parking lot to my office doesn’t count), eating less ice cream or managing my email better. The latter practice alone would help improve my efficiency at work immensely. I’m sure you probably feel the same way.
A new National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study solidifies what the American Public Transportation Association’s (APTA) Transit Savings Report has been telling us for years now: riding public transportation can save users money.
June 20 will mark the 8th annual National Dump the Pump Day sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association, in partnership with the Sierra Club and the Natural Resources Defense Council.