Sound Off

Sound Off: How much does the city’s transit system collect in fares compared with how much it costs to operate the system?

According to the city’s 2012 budget, the public transit fund is expected to collect $255,000 in revenue from fares and bus pass fees. The budget calls for $3.1 million in expenses. The fund’s other major sources of revenue include a pair of voter-approved sales taxes.


Brian Elm 5 years, 12 months ago

Ouch. Might as well buy a new car for everyone that rides the bus instead.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 12 months ago

Too bad not everyone can drive a car. You might follow up with another much does the city spend on roads/bridges and parking lots/enforcement.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 12 months ago

You are making a stupid comment. Of course buses use roads. I'm just pointing out. That. The user fee drivers pay at the gas pump aren't expected to pay for 100% of road construction and etc costs but some people including you seem to think that fare box receipts should cover an unattainable percentage of transit costs or it's deemed not worthy of public investment. Finally, emergency services need to respond quickly so they obviously can't take the bus and the fact you would even post that indicates to me you are a buffoon.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 12 months ago

Except I make my living preparing Highway Corridor Studies so I warrant I know a whole lot more about this topic than you do.

kusp8 5 years, 12 months ago

+475039857264398231407128965230494723 :)

Cant_have_it_both_ways 5 years, 11 months ago

There were no buses when I went to college. We learned a life lesson on how to provide for ourselves, while enjoying the university we chose to attend.

Seems to me that providing all these services that are really not needed does not teach our students anything other that to look a little harder for the next handout.

kansasredlegs 5 years, 12 months ago

The M-T, Celebrating 10 years, 10,000 riders, and over $25M of wasted tax dollars. It would have been cheaper to contract with a private taxi company for those needing a ride.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 12 months ago

You're wrong. The transit systems in Lawrence give millions of rides per year. Plus buses are more environmentally friendly than cars.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 12 months ago

Per mile traveled per person they pollute far less than SUVs or even cars. Plus, you don't have to provide parking spaces which consume a lot of land and spread things out even more thereby encouraging yet more auto dependent trips. You need to consider the full cost of things not just immediate out of pocket costs. Economists call you the free rider in society...

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

That's not actually true, unless the system is used heavily enough.

And, unless it's structured intelligently as well.

Buses get about 5mpg, while our car gets about 20mpg.

And, if the buses have to go out of the way, downtown, and then back out where you're going, driving there directly is more efficient.

So, I'd say that we have to replace about 5-8 cars in order to break even, environmentally speaking.

LogicMan 5 years, 12 months ago

That's 8.2258% if your calculator is broken. That's just plain pathetic compared to the 50% or more standard for such. Quite an embarrassment for the City and its leaders and administration. What would a wise person do?

jafs 5 years, 12 months ago

50% is the standard in very large cities with extensive public transit that's heavily used, I believe.

But, I agree that we should be getting more than 8%, and moving towards 50%.

One way to do that would be to structure the system so that more people can use it, as a "grid" system, with schedules that working people can use more of the time.

I've suggested that numerous times to the city.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

I agree - one of the city's transit folks tried to explain it to me - I think he said they're just not made as sturdily.

But, that doesn't have to be the case of course.

darthvedder 5 years, 12 months ago

Not everything in American society has to be filtered through a profit/loss statement. Public infrastructure, including public transportation, is the moral and fiscal responsibility of any local government of significant size. Governments are for the populace, the entire populace. No human being in the history of humankind has ever accomplished what they've accomplished, gained what they've gained, or acquired what they've acquired through their individual efforts alone. The notion that any member of a society should not have to contribute to that society in a way which may not benefit themselves directly is narrow and narcissistic at best. The one quarter of one percent of the local sales tax you would save by not having to pay for public transportation is not going to buy you that jet ski/hair transplant/stripper-wife you think you so desperately need.

pace 5 years, 12 months ago

Yeah, selfless to not hate public transportation and to back that up with reason. It would be selfish to just rant about empty buses while the system develops into a useable and to me , treasured resource.

darthvedder 5 years, 12 months ago

So advocating for the public funding of public services I do not personally benefit from is selfish?

Lawrence citizens wanting to utilize public transportation to go to and from work or school in Lawrence are selfish, while Lawrence citizens wanting to utilize public transportation to go to and from work or school in Johnson County are noble creatures on the path to self-improvement?

The K-10 Connector is "the most important route of all" though is has maybe a fourth of the ridership of the T? (~150,000 passenger trips in 2011 for K10, ~650,000 for the T in 2010)

Having the frame of mind not to comment on every other story on this website equals attempting to skirt the social responsibilities I'm advocating? You do know that you have posted more comments than there have been days since you registered, right? 4475 comments vs ~2700 (7.5 yrs) days as a user. Thankfully we all know that habitually commenting anonymously and virtually on the web is not at all a self-righteous, smug, egotistic, and dare I say, selfish defect.

pace 5 years, 12 months ago

None2 is not a new voice on the forum, just another name.

Clint Church 5 years, 12 months ago

I don't have a problem supporting a bus system but there is no reason they couldn't have started with the small buses or even vans with the wheelchair lifts. I don't see any of the buses, other than the ones that carry KU kids, that have more riders on them than will fit in one of the smaller vehicles.

Lee Eldridge 5 years, 12 months ago

The problem is that the public is sold a bill of goods on projects like this. The initial supporters say "It will pay for itself in X years!" Then the rest of us are left paying for it for the rest of our lives.

If the public had been told that by 2012 the bus system would only be generating revenues equal to about 10% of the cost, would the public have supported it? I doubt it.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 12 months ago

great post, one of the things I despise about libbies is how they lie to achieve perceived needed projects. Of course this wouldn't pass if presented as a "we just need this" project..

Wait 10 years and look back at our health care system. Socialized medicine has passed, pushed through on the lies and cheating libs.

Do we need a bus system in a town operating at least 4 others? Couldn't the millions be spent on the elderly in need?

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 12 months ago

There is not one public transit system in the world that pays for itself. But I have news for you, roads don't pay for themselves either. Gas taxes don't fully cover road construction, maintenance and law enforcement let alone ecological impacts from pollution. Lawrence is the most progressive city in Kansas. We need a world class transit system, including freeway express bus service on I70 linking Topeka to Lawrence to KC with a service similar to the extraordinarily successful K10 connector service.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 11 months ago

JayhawkFan.............Manhattan beat Lawrence pants off on a greenie contest regarding electricity. In fact Lawrence is powered by a coal plant. Lawrence has the most ineffectual road system causing drivers to use much more fuel than Olathe for instance. The Kaw River is so full of doo doo we can't eat the fish.

Yet......Lawrence libs always think they are far far ahead in everything. Next time you feel high and mighty take a peek at the coal plant plumes.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 11 months ago

extraordinarily successful K10 connector service.

Johnson County is paying for this service. They find it extraordinarily inefficient.

sourpuss 5 years, 12 months ago

No public transit system is self-supporting. I know some of you don't believe in the greater good, but I wish you'd just move off to your survivalist bunker already and leave the rest of us to a nice society.

jafs 5 years, 12 months ago

There's a huge difference between not self-supporting, and getting less than 10% of revenues from fare collections.

1southernjayhawk 5 years, 12 months ago

Oh, and by the way, please leave us some of your money before you go so we can pay for our stuff. Pathetic. Get rid of the T now.

RoeDapple 5 years, 12 months ago

The old 11 mph F-350 looks better every day.

RoeDapple 5 years, 12 months ago

"I wish you'd just move off to your survivalist bunker already and leave the rest of us to a nice society."

"nice society" Where everyone else pays to transport, feed, house, cloth, insure, protect, . . . those who won't.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 11 months ago

A non sustainable cradle to grave gimme society. Can anyone see what's going on in Europe?

skinny 5 years, 12 months ago

Time to do away with the transit system here in Lawrence. It is not even close to paying for itself and I am tired of seeing empty buses rolling about town!

Lawrence is a smalll enuigh town you can walk whereever you need to go!

LogicMan 5 years, 12 months ago

"Time to do away with the transit system here in Lawrence."

And it wouldn't be the first, or even the second time that such a wise decision was made in this city. But that took wise leaders, and apparently they are in short supply these days.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 12 months ago

Lawrence is as much as 8 miles across in places. Not everyone can walk 8 miles. Some people like young kids and the severly disabled both of whom can't drive probably can't walk even one mile.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 12 months ago

Lawrence didnt have a municipal water system, municipal sewage treatment or even a fire department at different points in our history. Lawrence also had an interurban light rail line that went from the current free state brewery to KC. Things change. Why can't Lawrence be a leader providing world class service to it's residents rather than being a Brownback/Koch reactionary wanting to dismantle all progress made in the last 100 years. Maybe we should stop adding flouride to our tap water. Topeka and Wichita don't...

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

Lawrence isn't, and will never be, a "world class" city, and I don't see why it should try to be one.

And, we don't have the stark choice between that and the B/K reactionary thing, right?

Something in between would be more sensible, and more appropriate, for Lawrence, in my opinion.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 11 months ago

I firmly believe we need some type of service. Bare bones, expensive, and comes close to breaking even. If somebody wants to use the service then they may have to wait 4 or 5 hours.

Heck the poor never pay for anything, so what's the difference if the fare is expensive. That libby argument is a dead one nowadays. If you are making good money and wish to not drive then pay your way.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

That's the opposite direction I would like to see.

The best transit systems are heavily used, and get about 50% from fare collections.

They're not "social programs", and many working people use them.

gccs14r 5 years, 12 months ago

It would help if they wouldn't put the busses away at 8 p.m. No second-shift person can use the system, nor can those who would like to go to dinner and a movie, or out for drinks.

RoeDapple 5 years, 12 months ago

Survivalist is so 1970 . . . "Prepper" is the new survivalist.

kernal 5 years, 12 months ago

Okay, so we do away with the T. The city is approving student type apartments all over Lawrence which requires students to either have their own car, walk 5 to 6 miles one way or take the bus. They could ride a bike to campus, but that's hard to do in the winter and we don't have enough safe bike lanes. We know how much drivers and cyclists love bikes on major streets. Plus there's the arguments about more cars on the road, adding more parking at KU and downtown, traffic congestion and affecting air quality in the summer.

How about the people who use the bus to get to work? Not everyone can afford car payments, maintenance and insurance if they have a minimum wage job, kids, health insurance, etc. Not everyone can drive due to handicaps, but they can work and want to work. If you want to do away with the T, we can always put those folks back on welfare, food stamps and other tax payer paid programs.

Point is, there are more good reasons to keep the T rather than let it go.

Liberty275 5 years, 12 months ago

They need something to bolster their progressive cred. The the city takes and redistributes, the better they are thought of in berkley.

kernal 5 years, 12 months ago

KU buses don't give rides to school for Lawrence School District kids. The State of KS funds school bus rides for kids who live more than 2.5 mi. from their school. The other kids take the bus, or walk, depending on the weather and their age. Do you want your grade school kid walking a mile to school in the dark? How about in the winter in sub freezing temps? There are many families where both parents work or there is a single parent, so mom and dad can't transport the kids.

I never mentioned anything about high use of food stamps or high unemployment nor did I state those numbers had fallen since the T was established. That idea came up in your own mind. If you want stats about the numbers of unemployed, food stamp recipients and folks on welfare for the past ten years in Lawrence, contact SRS - your tax dollars are paying their salaries, so let them answer those questions. for you.

The T does have small vans that pick up the few people who are physically unable to take the T.

Tomato 5 years, 11 months ago

The things is, the city could give KU a million bucks a year to subsidize KU on wheels for students, then spend another million on bike lanes each year. And we would be ahead. We could throw in funding for our end of the I-70 commuter route and STILL be ahead.

We would have a functional bus system and safe bike routes.

The fact is, Legends Apartments has their own private bus that goes to KU and other apartment complexes would just follow suit.

I use the T. I support public transportation. But I think the City of Lawrence is doing it wrong.

imastinker 5 years, 11 months ago

Best answer on this thread!!

I rode the KU bus frequently in college, and tried the city bus. It was beyond terrible. They took me out by target and let me sit there for half an hour waiting on my connector bus. I would expect connections to occur near the big draws, like campus or downtown. I never rode it again.

I recently was in LA for a day and didn't have a rental car so found a bus to take out to Santa Monica. For my first time, the bus was easy to ride and figure out. In other words, nothing like the Lawrence bus system.

Kirk Larson 5 years, 12 months ago

While they don't make up all the difference there are other benefits accrued by public transportation: people who don't/can't drive or who can't afford a car can get to work and be productive, less traffic on the road, less demand locally for gas, and so on.

JackMcKee 5 years, 12 months ago

Take a look at the people involved with every tax increase in Lawrence. Not surprisingly they are the same people every time. "LeAdership Lawrence" likes to give them awards. This is one of the most corrupt cities in the Midwest.

Patricia Davis 5 years, 12 months ago

It is time to revisit the city' entire mass transit program. We can do better than this. Simply doing what we have done in the past is shown to be grossly inefficient. Every time I see an EmpT I cringe. We have very smart people in this town. Please engage brains before engaging more Ts. So agree about jafs grid suggestion. When we travel we use mass transportation. Usually on time, ridiculously affordable and efficient. Instead of droning on about the waste of money, cant' we actually make something better?

tomatogrower 5 years, 12 months ago

EmpT? People are still calling it that? I drove by several bus stops yesterday and there were always at least 3 people waiting. There were 7 waiting out by WalMart. With packages. So they made money for WalMart and they paid their fare, and they paid their sales tax, some of which goes to other things in our city. Maybe the bus was "empty" when it arrived; I didn't stick around to see. But it sure wasn't "empty when it left.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 12 months ago

LOL When I get on the bus, the driver says, going to Walmart? Some times when I am waiting for the bus back home I think they really need a bigger shelter, this drawing straws to see who gets to sit down is getting old. I can't stand forever, people, how long has it been now? One minute! Ooohhh.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 12 months ago

My remark was meant as a joke. I meant that I ride the bus so often the driver knows where I am going. I am far from being the only regular that goes to the south Walmart. Many, many students go there also as they seem to get all their housing needs there. International students take it for granted that they will take the bus to haul not only groceries but even microwaves and even boxed tables. People who drive around by themselves tend to be very bad tempered Maybe they just need a hug.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago


Unfortunately, the ones in charge of the transit system, while often agreeing with me, don't seem to do anything about it.

I've tried numerous times, with different people.

JayhawkFan1985 5 years, 12 months ago

Too many commenters here are tea party nut jobs who should move to Texas or Arizona. Lawrence is a progressive city.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 12 months ago

Easy there...I both voted for Obama and AGAINST the T.

tomatogrower 5 years, 12 months ago

Wow! Get rid of the buses and can you imagine what the city would be like during the day when KU is in session? Put hundreds of more cars on the roads? Wow, that would be just peachy keen. And imagine all those parents who work who would have to find babysitters to get their older kids who don't have cars to places. I know when our son learned to use the bus it was a god send to our busy schedule. And we didn't have to buy him a car as quickly when he turned 16. Saved us money. And before you call us deadbeats, we have plenty of money, and we shop locally, so we do pay our fair share. I suppose you think all those poorly paid people who wait on you at the retail stores, who can't afford cars, go out of town to buy groceries, and never pay any sales tax, so they don't contribute either? Right?

Are you willing to pay even more for your clothes and food, so the businesses will pay enough for them to own a car? If you are an investor, are you willing to take less profit, so the employees can own a car? Didn't think so. More conservative "I want my cake and eat it too. Me, me, me" stuff.

I am really sick and tired of the way workers are treated. According to the new conservatives they had nothing to do with making a business successful. As if, Ford, went out and built all those cars by himself. As if, the members of the Walton family ring up your groceries. As if, Donald Trump works the desks of his hotels. Can you see him cleaning the rooms? Where would any boss be without good workers, yet the conservatives look down on these people. They don't want to pay them enough to buy cars, yet they don't want to pay taxes for bus systems. Greedy, mean nasty people. That's how I see the new conservatives. Even the moderate Republicans had compassion and cared about their fellow citizens. The new conservatives would bring back slavery. The new conservatives wouldn't even bring back company towns, because it would cut into their profits. That's what life is all about to them - money. If I wasn't so disgusted I would pity them.

JackMcKee 5 years, 12 months ago

KU has had buses since forever. They are always full and are fully funded by riders. The M-T only has riders when they heavily subsidize ridership and canabalize the KU system. The KU buses work because they are more convenient than driving (most of those students still have cars). The Lawrence bus system takes 2 hours to get from point A to point B. Lawrence does not need a bus system. It doesn't need a new library. It doesn't need a lot of things. The same small cabal of people keeps ramming these tax increases through.

It's a bad time to be stuck between the wacko right wing ideologues in Topeka and the self serving crooks in Lawrence.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

If the large majority didn't want the library or "T" funding, all they had to do was turn up and vote against them.

You can't blame a "small cabal" if the larger group is too apathetic to participate.

tomatogrower 5 years, 12 months ago

"Was the unemployment rate higher for those 30 years? Was welfare & food stamps more common during those years? Was their an increase of health issues from people being exposed to the elements: walking in the heat of summer or the cold of winter?"

none2 - Gas and cars were a whole lot cheaper. That is the difference.

tomatogrower 5 years, 12 months ago

The cost of basic living, including car ownership, has outstripped wages. Buy a car or pay the rent? Buy gas or food? Many hardworking Americans are having to make this decision.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 12 months ago

Clapping, you go tomatogrower! You have the right of it.
I ride the T frequently and have never been the only passenger on it. It has always been full. The riders seem to like to talk to each other and the driver. They have some interesting things to say. I have thought about this, does riding the bus tend to make people want to interact or it is that those who want to be around others gravitate to the bus. I know my limitations and the bus is a godsend to me in getting around. There are also riders to are going to work or getting off from work. I got caught up in the parade re-route and the T people went out of their way to make sure I got home okay. I ended up being driven to my front door as the re-route was four blocks from where I would normally get off. I have found the drivers to be so helpful in making sure people get where they are going and make their connections. Thanks to all the great drivers!

JackMcKee 5 years, 12 months ago

and your glorifed taxi ride, a bargain at a cost of only $40. I hope you tipped.

RoeDapple 5 years, 12 months ago

The wealthy do not create jobs, it's true. But without wealthy backers it's unlikely consumers will cr@p a job out of thin air.

The Ogle family operated Lawrence Bus Company for 40 years. After running in the red for the last 8 years they wisely chose to shut it down. That kind of wisdom doesn't get voted into city management.

tomatogrower 5 years, 12 months ago

I don't get it. Yes, an entrepreneur has the idea. Yes, he/she needs a bank or investor (regulated by the government, so the idea won't get ripped off) to get the idea off the ground. Yes, the idea won't be successful if the consumers (protected by the government from really dangerous ideas) don't want it. Yes, the entrepreneur will need to hire hard working trustworthy people (most educated by the government) to help make the idea. Yes the entrepreneur will need roads to transport his/her idea, either real roads or the internet (both created by the government). The entrepreneur will also need a place of business (protected by police and fire fighters, so he/she doesn't have to pay so much in insurance). It seems to me we should all be working together, except the new conservatives think it's all about "Me, ME, ME!!!!!" It's all about the entrepreneur who has used all of this and us to be a "self made" success. They have the right to keep all the money, because it was their idea. Of course, their idea would be nothing without the rest. This is not redistribution of money.

Bob Forer 5 years, 12 months ago

I have no problem with my tax dollars being used to fund a public transportation system. However, the amount of the subsidy seems quite high. I know nothing about pubic transportation systems but it would seem it could be made a little more efficient.

JackMcKee 5 years, 12 months ago

Just give it another 25 years. People will catch on to how great the M-T is by then.

RoeDapple 5 years, 12 months ago

Spend $11 for $1 return. That just seems so . . . Lawrence.

JackMcKee 5 years, 12 months ago

not only that, but the city "leaders" give awards to people that devise and implement these brilliant plans. One can only assume that a town that awards stupidity must be run by morons.

Liberty275 5 years, 12 months ago

I could have buy half a tank of gas for my cut of the taxes we are wasting on those empty landwhales.

1southernjayhawk 5 years, 12 months ago

$3,100,000 in expense minus 255,000 in revenue divided by say 30,000 families in Lawrence (just estimated) = $100 per family to support the T. Thank you, City of Lawrence, for taking $100 from my family so people who use the bus don't have to pay for its full cost.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

No transit systems are self supporting - the best get about 1/2 of their operating costs from fare collection.

Evan Ridenour 5 years, 12 months ago

Does the $255,000 include the money provided by KU (aka the subsidization of the system by KU students)?

dani36921 5 years, 12 months ago

That's exactly what I was wondering! There is no way the 255,000 dollars includes the money from KU. SOOOOO many students use the bus.

Evan Ridenour 5 years, 11 months ago

No, they don't ride for free. Every KU student is forced to pay a lot of money for it, whether they ride it or not. WE subsidize it for everyone else.

Leslie Swearingen 5 years, 12 months ago

There is no reason for people to be opposed to public transportation in Lawrence. One last time, the buses are only empty at the beginning or end of a route. Lots of people, many people, ride the bus as it is convenient and economical. True enough seniors do get a discount, but seniors get a discount in a lot of places. Why not complain because those over sixty-two pay less for a movie ticket than others? Or get a ten percent discount of a lot of restaurants?

JackMcKee 5 years, 12 months ago

There's a whole lot of people riding the bus, alright. If memory serves correct, it was about 8,000 rides a year before they artificially inflated ridership with free rides for students. There are maybe 200 people in Lawrence, other than students, that use the bus.

I think we should have public transportation, but I disagree that the shape it should take is 20,000 pound mostly empty buses cruising around the city wasting $2 million + per year.

gl0ck0wn3r 5 years, 11 months ago

Statistically it is pretty empty when you stip away all the artificial inflation. I ran regressions on the numbers before the last tax increase and it didn't seem to matter. The emotional pull of having a system > the logic of having to prioritize public dollars during an economic slowdown.

David Dunlap 5 years, 12 months ago

A lot of whining and no solutions on the board again. Sorry if I missed it, but did anyone suggest advertising on the sides of the buses like every other city in the world does. Ad revenue could reduces taxpayer costs.

JackMcKee 5 years, 12 months ago

putting it on the inside sure wouldn't raise much revenue.

Scott Morgan 5 years, 11 months ago

read my post...............bare bones 4 hour shifts, used busses (recycled if you wish) just cross town rides. Make up the folks who really need the ride as our elderly and such with short dash taxi service. But.............make it pay the way.

Terry Sexton 5 years, 12 months ago

When I was an innocent lookin' lad, I used to be a spy for the Lawrence Bus Company. Duane hired me to hop on the bus & ride until the driver booted me. You weren't s'posed to be able to go more than one complete route around town without paying another fare (25 cents). I was also on the lookout for how many quarters went into the driver's pocket instead of the fare gizmo. I got the boot after one round, but the driver had jacked about a buck-fifty along the way. Turns out I wasn't the only one to get the boot. Duane didn't miss much.

Tomato 5 years, 12 months ago

How does the KU bus budget factor into the overall city bus budget now that they have integrated and KU students ride for free (and I assume pay a hidden mandatory transit fee as part of their student fees)?

I take the bus across town through KU regularly. Mostly students and KU employees ride the bus - as one would expect in a college town.

It seems like the most sensible system would be a university-dedicated system, with a hub for most/all buses at KU and mandatory student fees to cover the expenses and a fee for any non-student. Then KU could raise parking fees and encourage students to ride their bus system, since they already pay for it - maybe even siphon an additional fee from each parking pass for the bus system.

If the numbers above are the real picture - and the city's out of pocket expense is 2.8 million dollars, that seems egregious. But I don't know what it's worth for the city to keep the KU riders off the roads.

kusp8 5 years, 12 months ago

We can all agree the 8% is less than ideal. We can all agree 50% is unattainable due to the limited population size of Lawrence. We can also agree the T should be more based on a model like KU's, either current or former, where there's a pass you can purchase per year or a flat $1 fee per ride.

I do agree society should attempt to help those who need assistance. However, the debate is at what level do we determine the assistance is more than just the ethical amount required and moves towards the spoon-feeding. This I don't know, and I suspect is the root of the debate above. However, during this debate let us refrain form personal, ad hominem, attacks. Let us scaffold off of each other's discussions and have a more fruitful conversation.

George Lippencott 5 years, 12 months ago

Here we go again. Our annual ridership is about 80,000 (a little over 220 a day). Our annual cost minus revenue is about $2.8 M. That runs out to about $35 per ride. Of course some amount of funding to avoid pollution is warranted. That said there does appear to be room to argue about return on investment. If we really believed about the pollution and climate change thing we would do some selective mandating. WE should make downtown Lawrence an auto free zone (or maybe just charge a large tax to drive there - think London). Parking lots at KU and maybe a new one east of town would serve as focal points for buses to move people into and out of downtown. Such an approach would quickly make the bus system very efficient and would contribute immeasurably to an avoidance of carbon emissions from vehicles. Of course such an approach might drive downtown business to other venues but if we really believe all our arguments about this system and the need for out of the box thinking to accommodate climate change we should embrace such an approach.

JackMcKee 5 years, 12 months ago

"WE should make downtown Lawrence an auto free zone "

I just spit margarita all over my Macbook Air. The day this would happen everyone on the City Commission that voted for it would get run out of town on a rail by the downtown business owners, the most powerful lobby in the city.

JackMcKee 5 years, 12 months ago

"Our annual ridership is about 80,000"

Before they added the students it was 18k to 22k per year. It's really disingenuous to add in a bunch of people taking free rides.

Patricia Davis 5 years, 12 months ago

It is time to review the T. With so many demands for so few resources, we must do what is efficient and wise. I suspect this will become more clear when Brownback's tax cuts come home to roost. Do we want better schools are do we want emT buses riding about town. And believe me I see empty buses.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 12 months ago

I voted against increased funding for the T once and would love to do it again

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

"You might follow up with another much does the city spend on roads/bridges and parking lots/enforcement. " Snow removal,road maintenance etc etc etc etc

Billions of $$$$$

Cars are billion $$$$$ budget items.

Some car owners are begging for another $200-$300 millon tax dollar handout. The SLT. Then comes millions upon millions more for maintaining the roadway.

I say put this money into public education.

Matthew Herbert 5 years, 11 months ago

Merrill - you do realize the ENTIRE city budget is not "billions" right?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

Brownback added a tax increase on each vehicle at time of each motorized vehicle registration renewal. $4.00 each

It's called a DMV modernization fee = the new $40,000,000 computer that has been malfunctioning.

A fee is a tax simple as that. Look for more tax increases hidden behind the word fee or rate.

It has been estimated that the cost of simply owning a vehicle is at $8,000 -$15,000 annually.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

How many threads did you spam with this same text today, merrill?

Liberty275 5 years, 11 months ago

"There is no reason for people to be opposed to public transportation in Lawrence."

Actually. at least one people (aka a person) is opposed to public transportation. Public transportation is one means used to induce reliance on government and not on one's self. A perfect example of this happened some years back in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina was a mid-sized storm that was made much worse by the low level of the area and poorly built and maintained structures meant to protect those low areas. It was a disaster waiting to happen. But what made it a tragedy was that too many people there had come to rely heavily on the government and not themselves. They could ride the bus, so they needed no car. Had they not been trapped by government reliance, most of the people that died could have gotten into their cars (had they owned one instead of relying on government busses) and drove 50 miles north and never been in danger, much less killed. How many people died in their own cars as they fled New Orleans? Maybe 3 or 4 from freak circumstances?

At it's core, public transportation is part of what is destroying Americans. In the end, it isn't about money, it's about watching our country degrade into a nation of parasites that exist only because the host allows them to. That is a sad thing to watch.

The six lattes the T costs me per year is trivial, but watching people surrender their ability to move about freely is horrifying.

I realize some people have physical ailments that prevent them from driving and we do need a system to help those. OTOH every time an able-bodied person steps onto a bus or a train simply because they can't be bothered to own their own means of transportation, another little piece of what made Americans great disappears.

So you are wrong. There are reasons for people to be against public transportation, and one of those reasons is based on philosophy and not trite matters like money.

werekoala 5 years, 11 months ago

From what I understand, City Hall claims that they can't get federal funding for a paratransit system (rides for the disabled, etc) if they don't have a regular transit system running in parallel.

Okay, I get that, but I wonder if we'd actually forgo the money and still save if we just fully funded the paratransit.

And yes, I think we have an obligation to help out the poorest among us get back on their feet. But mass transit only works if you are transporting masses of people from one locale to another (K-10 Connector). Otherwise, you're just running a mostly-empty bus from subdivision to subdivision.

It would be nice if Lawrence had been laid out in a new-urban style. And I encourage that sort of development in the future. But banging our heads against the wall of facts just embarrasses everyone.

Fact is, given the current layout of Lawrence (low density residential, commercial, and employment areas distributed by a car-centered road network) the idea that we can run giant buses through town to take big groups of people from one location to another is ridiculous.

If we want to be truly innovative, we should stop trying to impose New York or Chicago-style transit systems (and pizzas, haha!) on a sprawling Midwest town. Instead, I think we should have a more responsive system in which you go to a transit stop, and then tell it your destination. A computer dispatches cars or vans in response to real-time demand.

You could combine this with fixed routes as well, in response to consistent demand, and scale it so you are only running the buses/cars needed. Also, smaller vehicles could be exclusively powered by electricity, meaning less pollution/noise/road damage, etc.

I strongly support public transportation in concept. But I strongly disagree with the idea that if we pour $3.1million down a rathole, so long as we have pretty buses rolling around the streets, there is no need for us to re-examine our decisions in light of the facts.

JackMcKee 5 years, 11 months ago

is this the same City Hall that used taxpayer dollars to insert misleading propaganda about the new library into utility mailings? Why, the city "leaders" gave out accolades and awards to the ground breaking promotion that led to a nice little taxpayer pilfering. I'm sure those award winning "leaders" are proud of their involvement. I've never seen a prouder group of liars.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

One of the great aspects of public transportation is the wage and benefits. This keeps working people off Social Services,food on the table and sustaining themselves. More than can be said about most other business operations in Lawrence,Kansas.

Cars are billion $$$$$ budget items.

Some car owners are begging for another $200-$300 millon tax dollar handout. The SLT. Then comes millions upon millions more for maintaining the roadway.

Cars cost taxpayers tons of tax dollars.

How about that high dollar Global Warming/Climate Change that lots of gasoline use is assisting?

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

This is an excellent concept:

"The things is, the city could give KU a million bucks a year to subsidize KU on wheels for students, then spend another million on bike lanes each year. And we would be ahead. We could throw in funding for our end of the I-70 commuter route and STILL be ahead.

We would have a functional bus system and safe bike routes."

It would likely require more than a million dollars a year to turn the entire system over to KU on wheels. There is a partnership currently in place that is probably working well for both as we speak. Suggest speaking with certain members of the Bicycle Advisory Committee, Dave Corliss, Mike Dever and Danny Kaiser of KU.

The variety of bus sizes within the T was a practical and smart choice no question about it.

Several more 10' bike lanes would be far more fiscally attractive than more roads. The short and long term costs would be about the size of a fly on an elephants butt.

budwhysir 5 years, 11 months ago

So I am confused. Do these numbers prove that the bus company is a money making proposition? Or do these numbers reflect excessive spending coupled with poor to dismal revenue incomes?

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

They show that transit systems aren't self supporting, even in the best cases.

And, they also show that Lawrence is getting less than it should be getting from fare collections.

Liberty275 5 years, 11 months ago

Really? I don't think most want to throw out the baby with the bathwater. I'd like to see the big busses sold and replaced with fewer shuttle-type busses and I imagine most libertarians and conservatives would be happy with that compromise. My take is that it has always been that way (minus a few hateful people that really would totally abandon the less fortunate).

Generally, nobody wants to "make them all walk" but I wish more people knew if they look around a bit, they can find an acceptable little japanese car for well under $1000. Sure it won't be as nice as a new car, but driving themselves will offer a sense of freedom and maybe help break the cycle of government dependence.

"labeling anyone who favors public transportation as a "liberal"... 'socialist"... "communist" etc."

You should say marxist instead of communist, but the gist of that is true. Public transportation is a very socialist concept. Liberals, socialists and communists -> marxists are it's most vocal supporters. If you are of a different political bent and you support public transportation, just tell us what you are and where you stand. It would be wrong to lump a person in with an ideology based on one position.

As for labeling, if the shoe fits, wear it. Wear it proudly. If you aren't proud of your ideology, maybe you need a different one.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

It's as "socialist" as fire, police, and emergency services, isn't it?

We all pay for those, and yet don't all use them.

But, if we need them, they're available.

Are they socialist in nature as well?

booyalab 5 years, 11 months ago

I always laugh when I see a huge exhaust-spewing bus driving with one person in it. Imagine the outcry if that polluting monster was privately owned, except we could at least count on it having more passengers or going out of business.

Richard Heckler 5 years, 11 months ago

Very few if any public transportation systems pay for themselves.

Airplane travel us heavily subsidized and way more polluting. At least the tax dollar subsidies for the T brings some of our federal tax dollars home. And our tax dollars are keeping employees working thus keeping tax dollars working the in the local economy.

Roads and cars are by far the largest budget items ever..... look how many vehicles have only one person. All of those cars are making more pollution than a few buses.

jafs 5 years, 11 months ago

Well, given the low mpg that buses get, 1 bus, running on an inefficient route would have to take 5-8 cars off of the road just to break even, I'd say.

A bus that gets about 5mpg burns a lot more gas and produces a lot more pollution than a car that gets about 20mpg.

Flap Doodle 5 years, 11 months ago

"...Roads and cars are by far the largest budget items ever..." Citation, please? Not from one of the propaganda sites you constantly link to, if you'd be so good.

beatrice 5 years, 11 months ago

How much do roads generate in revenue compared to how much they cost to build them?

Carol Bowen 5 years, 11 months ago

How much does the city’s transit system collect in fares compared with how much it costs to operate the system?"

Is it about the same ratio as what we pay for the sewer system?

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