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Free rides

Metro Transit is the bus system here. It runs in and around Seattle, all over King County, with reasonably reliable service. You can take Metro to most places that aren't farmland.

 

You're supposed to pay to ride, but being a big city, Seattle has thousands of bums, and they never pay. They simply step aboard and sit down. Few drivers bother hassling the homeless or panhandlers over a few dollars, nor should then. When a driver is dumb enough to press the point, which is rarely, the bums simply shrug and step off, and get onto the next bus.

Functionally, then, Metro Transit provides a free and efficient bum delivery service. Vagrants, addicts, drunks, and the very, very poor can easily ride anywhere in the metroplex, at no charge. People who aren't bums are allowed to ride along, for $2.75.

I'm not a bum-hater, and to me it's not at all a problem that the county provides free bum delivery. That's a good thing! The problem is that ordinary people have to pay.

Screw that. Transit needs to be free for everyone, same as libraries, parks, streets and sidewalks, police and fire, etc. Even COVID and flu shots are free, so why are people expected to pay $2.75 to get around town? None of those other publicly-funded services require a fee when you walk in.

I am a cheapskate, but that's not why I argue for free transit. Everyone getting everywhere by sitting in their personal few-thousand-pounds of metal and glass is simply not sustainable.

Trains and buses reduce traffic on the street, and reduce the effects of pollution and climate change, so we need to get people to ride public transit. Make it free, and you'll get more people out of their cars. 

That's the carrot. The stick is, a county-wide tax of $50 per private motor vehicle — this year, and then the tax goes up by $50 per private vehicle, every year. All funds raised go directly to funding and improving public transit.

In the rapidly-approaching future when gas pumps have run dry, supply chains are permanently disrupted, and climate change has given us cyclical droughts and floods, new diseases, and crippling economic ruin, a city might survive, if people can easily get around without cars. We'd better get started.

Yes, it's a rerun. I've made this argument before, maybe even recently. I will bang the drum loudly, probably again, and probably soon.

11/27/2022    

 itsdougholland.com
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