Letters to the Editor

No to T

September 25, 2008


To the editor:

I have finally had enough reports and letters trying to spin a positive for the T. I can't believe the people in Lawrence could be gullible enough to buy into all the "rah rah" stuff. Wednesday, the newspaper reported an increase in ridership and proceeded to include the "free" rides. How can one include "free" rides that won't increase profit?

Also, a quick breakdown of August ridership - 35,349 - is disturbing. Although up, dividing that by 31 days gets 1,140. Divided by 15 hours is 76. Divided by 10 buses gives 7.6 people per hour. No wonder the buses always look empty. They are!! Reminds me of the song back in the '70s. "One is the loneliest number." That's how the bus driver must feel.

Finally, the T is losing money. That's before the city negotiates for a new gas contract or buys new buses in the near future. I say no way to the T. My retirement money and taxes need to go elsewhere.

Roger Powell,


sf3 8 years ago

Wow!!! Hmmmm.. the person that said "No the T" is either a dodo or has NO clue what they're talking about and should just BE QUIET. There are many people who ride the bus who can't afford a car. The buses I ride on are often full. Many many students ride the bus who's parents actually work during the day and can't just take off randomly to come pick them up!!!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"This is a perfect example of sensationalism that we see from the pro-T side. "Actually, it paraphrases quite accurately many of the arguments made by anti-T posters on this forum."I'm sure that some of these pro-T people would be willing to form their own privately ran neighborhood shuttle to provide what they deem as an essential service."The same argument could be made for police, fire protection, ambulance service, street maintenance, and on down the line. The simple fact is that there are certain things that government is better suited for than disjointed, individual actions, and transit service is one of those.

matchbox81 8 years ago

Mom_of_3, Unless the City Commission changes its minds and finds funding, the T will be shut down if the sales taxes aren't approved. Don't confuse a vote for no as a vote for restructuring.

Chris Ogle 8 years ago

storm (Anonymous) says: Silly letter, doncha know bus systems are like sidewalks: sometimes there are alot of people on them and sometimes not so many.________Bus systems are more like the Buffet..... you prepare, put everything out, and pray for consumers. When the day is over.... it cost the same amount of money.

Chris Ogle 8 years ago

If the "t" is such a great success, why do we need to provide 91% subsidy??

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Divided by 10 buses gives 7.6 people per hour. No wonder the buses always look empty. They are!!!!"By your own calculations, the buses are clearly NOT empty-- as a matter of fact, at peak hours, many are quite full. That doesn't mean they are utilized as well as they could be-- merging with the KU system and improved routes will go a long way towards accomplishing that-- continued skyrocketing gasoline prices will do the rest."My retirement money and taxes need to go elsewhere."At most, the proposed sales tax supporting the bus system will likely cost you less than a quarter a day, and for most people, it'll be considerably less than that. If your retirement is at risk, it's because of the recklessness and outright fraud that's been going on on Wall Street and in Washington and in corporate boardrooms around the world.

Moderateguy 8 years ago

Merrill, where do you think this magical, fairy dust, federal money comes from? Federal block grant money to replace sidewalks in East Lawrence? Federal money to track monarch butterfiles? Federal money is OUR money! (Well, at least those of us who work for a living and pay taxes anyway....) This nation really needs to get back to basics, and have a serious house cleaning to return the role of the federal government to its original purpose. If Lawrence, Kansas truly needs a bus system, the local community should pay for it. If we as a community actually saw the full bill for the service, my guess is we wouldn't have it in the first place. Federal money isn't FREE money!!!

joe_cool 8 years ago

Why is there a constant analysis of how many people are riding?This has nothing to do with why the T is failing. It all about the income to expense difference. I would like to see the numbers over the pasts years comparing income from the above stated ridership numbers to the increased expense every year.

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

The League of Women Voters of Lawrence-Douglas County is urging everyone to vote 'Yes' for the Lawrence Transit System (the "T"), and will hold a forum on public transit in LawrenceForum on Public Transit the "T"7:00 9:00 PMWednesday, October 8thPlymouth Congregational Church "While the League of Women Voters of Lawrence Douglas County is disappointed that the Lawrence City Commission has chosen to subject the T to a referendum, we recognize that a good public transit system is an essential service for a city the size of Lawrence . Therefore, we strongly support the Lawrence Transit System and urge everyone to vote 'Yes' on both ballot questions 2 and 3," League President Carrie Lindsey said. The questions will put to a vote during the general election on November 4th. Question 2 would allocate a 0.2 percent sales tax for the transit system; Question 3 would allocate an additional 0.05 percent for the transit system. "It is very important that we vote 'Yes' on both questions," Lindsey said, "because, while the 0.2 percent tax will keep the T running in the short term, only with the additional 0.05 percent tax will the city be able to replace buses as needed and provide the enhanced service absolutely necessary for good operation of our transit system."Public transit has been shown to be an important element in business attraction, and other communities regard their transportation systems as a tool for economic development. Public transit is good for employers, moving residents who otherwise would have no reliable way to get to work across town. Public transportation is also good for local retail business, getting residents without other modes of transport to shopping areas. In Lawrence, a 2007 survey of Lawrence Transit System riders found that the large majority of riders report taking the T to work (40%), places of education (15%), and medical treatment (8%); and 13% take it to shopping destinations. "Public transit already moves hundreds of Lawrence residents around our city every day, including many of our most vulnerable citizens," Lindsey said. "The T provides transportation for people with disabilities, seniors, minors, and others without access to vehicles, not to mention many residents who use the service as a way to save on gasoline or lessen their carbon footprint as they travel around town." 2007 ridership surveys found that the majority of riders use the T five days a week or more (55%); 28% use it 2-4 days a week. Moreover, almost half (46%) of all riders report annual household income of less than $15,000; 24% report $15-25,000. Seventy-eight percent of riders indicated they had no other vehicle available when making a transit trip. While 39% of riders reported taking the T for convenience, 31% report having no other choice.

mom_of_three 8 years ago

Is there a guarantee that if the public votes no that the T will be restructured or will it just be cancelled?

Richard Heckler 8 years ago

The T brings back state and federal transportation tax dollarsthat would otherwise be lost to other Kansas Communities. These federal and state transportation tax dollars paid out by Lawrence taxpayers come back in the form of good paying jobs for Lawrence,Kansas. The T and MV transportation put back into our local economy millions of local,state and federal transportation dollars.Good paying jobs are an excellent use of OUR state and federal tax dollars. It's good for the local economy. No one at MV works for less than $10.00 per hour. 2006 provided a 171.56% improvement over 2001 which is not easily achieved and frankly is considered remarkable for new bus service.An interesting citizen poll:http://mobile.ljworld.com/polls/2003/dec/t_anniversary/In Lawrence,Kansas from 2001 2006 Lawrence ridership improved :2001 200,145 First year2002 280,2282003 312,8962004 434,9342005 455,3962006 - 466,000 one way trips in Lawrence,Kansas. 2007 - over 388,000 still way above 2001July 2008 is 8% above July 2007The T brings back state and federal transportation tax dollars that would otherwise be lost to other Kansas Communities. The T and MV transportation put back into our local economy millions of local,state and federal transportation dollars.MV Transportation employs both KU and T bus drivers thus making them the 23rd largest employer in Lawrence,Kansas with over 135 employees. How many jobs can Lawrence,Kansas afford to lose?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

7.6 riders per hour, times 8 routes, times 14 hours per day, times 6 days per week, times 52 weeks per year equals more the a quarter of a million single-occupancy cars that were not on the streets-- and if the bus system were properly supported and implemented, that number could easily double.

matchbox81 8 years ago

" Also, a quick breakdown of August ridership - 35,349 - is disturbing. Although up, dividing that by 31 days gets 1,140. Divided by 15 hours is 76. Divided by 10 buses gives 7.6 people per hour. " Or put another way, someone is getting on every bus every 7.8 minutes.

oldvet 8 years ago

Excellent letter, Roger.... vote NO

storm 8 years ago

Silly letter, doncha know bus systems are like sidewalks: sometimes there are alot of people on them and sometimes not so many.

geekin_topekan 8 years ago

Notice that the people who speak the loudest against the T are the ones who don't use it?

notajayhawk 8 years ago

merrill (Anonymous) says:"Public transit already moves hundreds of Lawrence residents around our city every day..."With tens of thousands of those who don't ride it paying for it.***just_another_bozo_on_this_bus (Anonymous) says: "The tax isn't income based- it's based on sales taxes"Why, yes, you're right. Which means that people who don't live in Lawrence, but shop there, will still have to pay for the T - even though, to get TO Lawrence, they have to drive, and therefor are extremely unlikely to ever USE* the T.Luckily there are other towns within a fairly equal distance where I can spend my money.

slang4d 8 years ago

I've been on the T to and from work (when I had an older car that would break down every two months) and during those hours (8am and 4pm) it was quite busy. However, I do see an awful lot of empty buses driving around which is ridiculous considering we tout public transportation as being earth-friendly. The system is obviously not working. FIX it though, don't eliminate it. There are plenty of people (even folks that own cars) that require public transportation. Also, given our current economic crisis, I'm betting car ownership will drop. Between payments, insurance and gas it's no longer affordable for a greater percentage of our population- yes, even the working ones.

notajayhawk 8 years ago

frazzled (Anonymous) says: "In this day of soaring gas prices..."Maybe frazzled and all the other people who have made similar references to 'soaring' or 'skyrocketing' gas prices ought to spend a little less time online and go outside mommy's basement to look at the price of gas, down over 70 cents per gallon in some places in just the past few weeks (whatever happened to that $5/gal we were all supposed to be paying by the end of summer, btw? I paid $3.34 the first day of Fall.). Maybe the fair and unbiased NBC news isn't making as much of a headline of prices falling like they did when they were going up?Just keep drinking your kool-aid.

Alexander Neighbors 8 years ago

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notajayhawk 8 years ago

ss18 (Anonymous) says: "The people who are anti T must be against more money to the fire and police depts too, right?????????????"Well, no.There's at least a chance the FD and PD might be useful someday.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"Now how can someone who makes $200,000 year whine about spending $50 per year in taxes that support the Bus. WTF>?"The tax isn't income based-- it's based on sales taxes, and not all expenditures are subject to sales taxes. My guess is that someone who makes $200,000 a year will have a maximum of $100,000 in expenses that are subject to the sales tax, and that would amount to $250 in support to the "T," but $100,000 is many times the average amount of expenditures that are subject to sales taxes.

XEPCT 8 years ago

I'm voting YES, because the T keeps Lawrence right where it should be: one step ahead.

ukillaJJ 8 years ago

Roger, what exactly is your yearly income?? Now compare it to the average and median in Lawrence? Public services are rarely profitable, they are there to serve the public!

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 8 years ago

"The old Lawrence Bus Company operated for many years, providing for owners and employees without being bailed out by the citizens of Lawrence. "They were paid to run buses for KU student senate. When they lost that contract, they went out of business. Get your facts straight.

frazzled 8 years ago

The city of Lawrence provides other public services that probably lose money, most notably the notorious Eagle Bend golf course. Why is the T being held to a higher standard? In this day of soaring gas prices, it is ridiculous for a supposedly forward-looking city to not have public transportation. Furthermore, it's not as though paying an extra quarter for every $100 you spend locally is going to make a big dent in your budget. I mean, honestly.Please vote yes on 2 and 3.

bearded_gnome 8 years ago

not often do I agree with Boozo, but I do here. Mom,voting against the T, against question #2, will not only stop the fixed-route, no not restructure it, it will dry up the paratransit too. cost per ride, total cost per ride, is much higher with door-to-door para. I'd like to see some greater flexibility in vehicles to help cut that.
if routes are put on 30 or 60 minute schedules, more predictable then, and get more of a grid system of buses, ridership will increase, increasing the proportion paid from the fairbox. right now, design of the fixed-route discourages riders! takes too long, bus times too complicated.

Alexander Neighbors 8 years ago

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