Just say no to Madison Metro bus-fare increase

Friday, February 20, 2009

From a opinion column in Isthmus by Tim Wong:

Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz has demanded that bus fares be raised to $2 a ride. The Transit and Parking Commission, whose duty it is to set fares, has twice said no.

Initially, the TPC voted 7-2 to keep fares the same as now ($1.50). Subsequently, in a compromise move, it voted 5-4 to raise fares to $1.75. The mayor, having not gotten his way, wants the city council to override the TPC.

The matter is slated to be taken up at the council's next meeting on Tuesday, February 24. Please contact your alders and tell them to keep fares at the current rate.

There are no compelling reasons to raise fares now, and many good reasons not to. Some middle-class people, with their comfortable incomes and lifestyle, may not have noticed, but we are in a deep recession, considered the most serious since the Depression. This is not the time to raise fares 33%.

We live in the age of Peak Oil. Most people expect that gas prices, despite the recent downturn, will continue to climb in the long term. This will make long commutes expensive and lower the value of suburban development.