Fund deteriorating bus system

Letter to the editor

Posted: Thursday, December 02, 2004

Business owners in Juneau - particularly downtown business owners - are likely to note a decline in revenue this winter, which will translate into lost tax revenue for Juneau. This is due to the steady deterioration of the bus system in our city. Perhaps, if you have recently had occasion to stand and wait in the pool of filthy, freezing water in the middle of the dark, isolated parking lot which constitutes the only place where buses now receive passengers downtown, you may already comprehend the problem.

The decision to cut service to once per hour in the morning, when the majority of people are trying to get to work, was poor enough; but to compound this error through the elimination of all but one location (and an absurdly inappropriate location at that) for getting on the bus downtown, might understandably be viewed as the dying sigh of the transit system.

It astonishes me that the same transit system that recruits and hires such terrific drivers can so utterly ignore the dictates of common sense in other crucial respects.

The human sorrows resulting from the rapid disappearance of public transit from the city are already manifest. Consider the elderly, parents with small children, pregnant women, and handicapped citizens, for example, whose bus stops have simply disappeared, and who are now cavalierly expected to negotiate steep hills and difficult traffic.

One never knows when, precisely, a bus will depart, and most people, rather than hazard missing the bus, will stand in the parking lot by the buses to make certain of catching one. It's no use speaking of a schedule; those of us who ride the buses know that schedules are approximations. This is no fault of the drivers. The bus system seem to go through abrupt (and frequently unadvertised) changes, and passengers know to be cautious.

Many persons on scant incomes are taking taxicabs they really can't afford (or simply staying home) simply because they are not able to take the bus under the present conditions. The elderly in Juneau constitute a great percentage of volunteers who hold together many of the city's most important community services, and many of these individuals ride the bus. As they lose their ability to do the work they do, we shall all suffer the loss.

Juneau, fund your public transit system. It is an economic and social imperative.

Morissa Williams


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