I keep noticing in news articles about the transit budget or Met Council transit projects like new bus lines on the news and in the papers. I would like to find out if I actually know anyone that uses any of these services consistently to justify the cost. Do you ride the bus? Light Rail? Metro Mobility? There were 78 Million “trips” logged on the Metro Transit system in 2010 which works out to about 107,000 people use the system for 1 round trip during the day in the entire state.
Like everything, I need to pick something about about this service right? So I went ahead and found the easiest thing to pick on. The Budget.
So if you look closely at the small print and bust out your basic calculator and make minimal assumptions you can see that “revenue” consists mostly of local, state, and federal tax dollars to the tune of 218 million dollars for 2010. Fares and other real revenue covers roughly 95 million dollars more of their budget bringing them up to their 315 million dollars that the public transportation system in the Twin Cities (and the NORTHSTAR LTR) cost. 218 mil/78 mil = $2.80 is the amount of money that the taxes cover of the cost of every trip with fares covering the other $1.22. I find that his is a lot of money considering the relatively small area they cover. I work in the Metro area and would need to walk over a mile from the nearest bus stop to get to work. Most “outstaters” receive very little if any benefits from this system at all. Is this program with it’s current massive yearly costs good enough to justify adding on the “central corridor” and many more future light rail projects to cart more people to downtown Minneapolis? I know I have provided a significant fiscal case against the public transit system in the MSP area but do people actually use it? Or is it more of a novelty? Would any additions or changes make it work better for you?