by Sam Hieb
Maybe that’s what the High Point Enterprise headline should have read. Instead, the paper proclaims “Bus ridership moves in new direction.” Exactly— down.
PART executive director Brent McKinney says the recession is to blame, because higher unemployment means fewer people needed bus service to commute. You would think public transportation use is supposed to increase during a recession because people can’t afford cars or gas any more.
At any rate, PART probably will still build its park-and-ride lots and buy new buses with fed stimulus money. As everyone should know, a recession is a particularly stupid time to cut transportation funding, because transportation projects provide jobs so people can start riding the bus to work again.
See, it’s sort of a cycle. We just don’t understand it yet.
Update: Fair enough, Antiplanner says “a decline in jobs affects transit more than driving.” Economic downturns also affect transportation because tax revenues are down, but planners use that as an excuse for more subsidies instead of reigning in services. True to form, PART keeps looking to expand its service during this downturn.