Skagit: Metro-style bus system ridiculous for our area

Letter to the Editor

Skagit Valley Herald

How long must all of us Skagit taxpayers keep pouring our money into a bus system that fewer than 2 percent of us use? We've pumped $50 million plus into that money-hungry green beast since 1993 while ridership has plummeted. Politically, SKAT loves to blame I-695 cutbacks and fares for fewer riders but they know ridership actually peaked in 1997 then started downhill 2 years before I-695 and 4 years before fares began.

After operating for 9 years while county population grew and ridership fell it is obvious, even to SKAT, that their fixed-route operation is a flop. The vast majority of us, over 98 percent, don't want to ride in a bus. Indeed, nothing SKAT does or can do will change our minds. Skagit is not King, Pierce or Snohomish County. Their needs are not our needs. A metro-style anytime, anywhere system in our county is ridiculous. Paltry ridership proves it.

When you discover you're riding a dead horse, the best strategy is to dismount. But SKAT has other strategies including buying stronger whips, i.e. more buses, declaring the dead horse is better, faster, and cheaper, and finally harnessing several dead horses together for more speed. More buses with more empty seats pounding our streets will not reduce traffic congestion, take cars off the road, reduce dust and noise, or lower air pollution.

SKAT must focus on serving Dial-A-Ride and its dependent fixed-route riders on today's income. Tax increase? Vote no.

Les Cox, Anacortes

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