Sep. 25, 2013 at 12:01amChris Karnes' post on the transit blog Tacoma Tomorrow, it is clear that there is no upside to Sound Transit's proposal to start imposing fees on Tacoma's "Link to Nowhere." Let's be clear: Tacoma's Link is nice and cute but it does not deliver much value compared to the other light rail systems in the state. Link simply connects the huge parking garage downtown, a benefit to commuters, and is useful for the rare Tacoma Dome event.
This is a lose-lose proposal for Tacoma as ridership, using ST's own numbers, would be reduced by 20 or 30 percent, undermining Tacoma's transit system, with no benefit whatsoever for Tacomans. Tacomans would continue to pay the same tax to Sound Transit. Bizarrely, the payback period for collecting fares would be 4 to 20 years, so there is little benefit for ST other than to employ a few more people.
The result would more people using cars in Tacoma, fewer people coming downtown, a disproportionate impact on the the poor, severing off the connection between the Dome District and downtown Tacoma, thereby making it harder in the future to justify Link extensions.
From Tacoma Tomorrow:
- The payback period for the fare collection equipment alone 4-20 years based on a fare of $1-$2
- Ridership is projected to drop 20-30% if a fare is imposed
- Using ORCA as a fare collection for LINK will siphon off $50,000/year from Pierce Transit
Until then, I encourage readers to voice your concerns to Tacoma Mayor and Sound Transit Boardmember Marilyn Strickland and the Sound Transit Board. And fill out another one of those surveys.
Take the Sound Transit poll today and let them know what you think.
Contact your Tacoma City Council member and give them your opinion.
comments  | posted under Link, Sound Transit, Tacoma, tacomaComments
by Erik on 9/25/2013 @ 12:20am
Peter Callaghan: We’re being railroaded to accept Tacoma Link fares (pun intended)
The only way to justify charging fares on Tacoma’s Link light rail is to compare it to other public transportation systems that aren’t comparable.More a downtown circulator than an actual transportation system, the 1.6-mile route is nice but hardly vital for commuters.
Its frequent stops make it likely that many who ride now will simply walk if faced with the recommended flat fare of $1.50, turned off by the hassle as much as the cost.Sound Transit’s own analysis suggests that, depending on the amount of the fare, ridership on Tacoma Link could fall between 20 percent and 30 percent. So in return for fares that will raise negligible amounts, the number of riders could fall by 200,000 to 300,000 a year.
And again, depending on the amount of the fare, it could take anywhere from a year to four years to even pay off the investment in the equipment to sell tickets and monitor that riders have paid.That doesn’t mean it isn’t going to happen. Sound Transit began its public outreach process with a conclusion that fares should be charged, seeking comments only on the amount and how best to soften the impact on poor and minority riders.
The rationale is as much bureaucratic as financial. When a previous batch of board members decided to make Tacoma Link free, it did so knowing that the amount raised from fares wouldn’t even cover the cost of collecting them.
by fredo on 9/25/2013 @ 3:20am
|All this was foreseeable back in the 1990's when Pierce County voters decided to affiliate with Sound Transit. Now we are embroiled in an unseverable organizational and financial mess from which there is no hope for resolution. It should be clear to any social scientist that the real purpose of Sound Transit is not the provision of transit but rather the provision of an unresponsive bureaucracy.|
by tacoma_1 on 9/25/2013 @ 8:33am
|Fares on T-Link are inevitable. |
I don't think that T-Link fares would necessarily encourage driving. If anything, the lack of fares encourages driving.
Many (if not most) of T-Link's riders drive to the T Dome parking lot already, and park for free to take the free shuttle. If a downtown commuter has to pay for gas and a transit ride, they will be financially better off skipping the initial car trip and go door to door via transit. Plus once initially on transit, the Link will be a free transfer.
by Erik on 9/26/2013 @ 1:14pm
Take the poll Kevin Freitas has created on the ST Link proposal to impose a fee:
Here is a link to the poll
by JesseHillFan on 9/26/2013 @ 1:55pm
|It should be subsidized by another form of motor vehicle or fuel tax.Every tax should be a tax on motor vehicles.|
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