The future of bus service in Ypsilanti

On Tuesday, as a cost savings measure, our City Council voted 5-1 to cut AATA route #5, and to reduce service hours on Routes #10 and #11. After trying unsuccessfully for two days to write something meaningful on the subject myself, I decided to outsource the job to someone with a much greater understanding of the issues at hand… I asked City Planner Richard Murphy for his thoughts on the matter, and he was kind enough to submit the following, in hopes that it might guide our conversation.

Mark,

You asked for my thoughts on the Ypsilanti AATA contract, and I see the flamewars beginning about “full funding” on your site and Arbor Update. Sorry to disappoint, but I’m not going to participate in that – because it’s not a valid question. I will say, though, that I’m pretty annoyed by the fact that people have let this false choice dominate the topic of bus service.

The question of “full funding” is an accountant’s debate, and doesn’t have anything to do with transportation planning. It works backwards from a given service and imagines that costs for that service can be meaningfully divided up into billable units (“service hours”), and each of these units assigned to a municipality, complete with an analysis of “productivity” of various routes, as measured by riders per service hour. Within its assumptions, these calculations are great – but they don’t have anything to do with transit.

To start with, the “productivity” measure posed is not just uninformative – it’s almost dangerous. Looking at that number suggests that the #3 route should be an easy cut within Ypsilanti. But that route goes to St. Joe’s, WCC, the VA hospital, and UM’s north campus – not only are these critical job concentrations, but this list of stops makes the #3 the route that provides access to medical care and educational opportunities for people who wouldn’t otherwise have that access. (Tangentially, putting these lifeline destinations way out on the edge of town is something of a failure of planning to begin with.) Of the routes that travel between Ypsi and A2, the #3 should be the *last* to go – it may have the fewest trips per service hour, but the trips it has are probably the most important.

More generally, though, a transit system is not a set of discrete routes and service hours that can be added or subtracted a la carte. It’s a /system/, and the network effects are substantial – cutting a given route has spillover effects on other routes (from displaced riders, new transfers required, transfers that are no longer possible, etc). In fact, the network effects spill beyond the buses, because the transit system is just a piece of the transportation system.

Reducing bus service in Ypsi adds congestion to the roads between Ypsi and Ann Arbor – congestion costs people money (from lost time), increases auto emissions, and increases crashes, and these effects are felt even by people who don’t ride the bus. (Which is why expecting bus riders to pay the “full cost” of bus service is incorrect, from an economists-eye view.) Reducing bus service in Ypsi creates added pressure on downtown Ann Arbor’s parking – not only is is it reasonable to ask whether Ann Arbor’s parking meters should help pay for bus service, but they already DO. A2’s wildly cut-rate “go!passes” are paid for by parking system revenues, because the A2DDA recognizes the value of getting somebody out of a parking space and onto a bus.

When people from Brighton are benefiting from Ypsi’s bus service in reduced commute time (and they need it) and easier parking, the question of each municipality paying by the amount of time spends in that municipality just doesn’t make sense. It’s a regional system, and can only be reasonably paid for regionally. The real question is not, “Should Ypsi restore full funding for AATA?” but rather, “How fast can we get to a funding source that reflects the actual nature of the service?”

Right now, I believe the only option available (under State statute) is a regional property tax, across either the whole County or just the “urbanized area” (minimally A2, Ypsi, Saline, and Scio, A2, Superior, Ypsi, and Pittsfield Townships). Some States allow a County-level sales tax or gas tax to be used to pay for transit service, and one of these (or a combination with property tax) may be a better solution in the long run – let’s hope really darn hard that the 2010 ConCon gives us those options.

I appreciate that the regional funding priority did arise at the Council meeting, and has shown up in some of the online discussions – but it needs to be brought to the forefront, with the recognition that any funding arrangement that happens in the meantime can only be very temporary in nature. AATA won’t put a regional funding question on the ballot if they don’t think it will pass. 2.5 years ago, AATA did a study showing that only 54% of County residents would support a 0.5 mill transit levy – and that was low enough that they didn’t risk putting it on the ballot at that time. County residents need to state, early and often, their desire for a stable regional funding program, and not get bogged down in artificial dilemmas of Ypsi’s “full funding”.

I apologize for the length of this, but I don’t get to exercise that “transportation planning” degree often enough…

More on the proposed service cuts can be found at AnnArbor.com and Arbor Update.

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106 Comments

  1. Glen S.
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, Council member Murdock’s resolution advocating these changes was introduced, discussed and voted on at a special meeting that took place on a Tuesday following a long Labor Day weekend … which means there was no public notice regarding this resolution, and virtually no chance for Council members (nor the public) to fully examine its contents, nor its consequences.

    Recently, I have been working with “Advance Ypsilanti,” a local political action committee, which, among other things, has taken a strong stand in support of maintaining public transit in Ypsilanti at current levels.

    Even as we argue about the specifics as they relate to Ypsilanti’s City budget, I think most people on all sides of this issue can agree about the need to develop and support a regional or county-wide funding model that will finally provide stable, sustainable funding for public transit — as has been demonstrated to be very successful in many other communities.

    Until we can make that a reality, however, I fear that continuing to make cuts to routes and schedules in Ypsilanti sends a terrible message about our community’s commitment to public transit — including the many low-income, senior and handicapped residents who depend on it every day. I

    am also concerned about the negative impact ongoing cuts may have on other community goals, such as making Ypsilanti a more walkable and sustainable community, and the eventual success of our planned stop on the Detroit-to-Ann Arbor commuter rail project.

    In the longer run, I also worry that making progressively-deeper cuts to AATA service in Ypsilanti may actually undermine support for future funding initiatives by creating the self-fulfilling perception (or reality) that the system no longer really meets the needs of the community, and is therefore not worth supporting.

    Since you frequently have been a champion for public transit on your blog, I’m hoping you might consider posting something about this issue sometime soon. In short, because I hope doing so might stimulate some much needed discussion — not only about our current funding crisis, but also about the pressing need to begin taking concrete steps to build a broad coalition to secure stable funding for regional transit solutions.

    Thanks for your consideration.

  2. Posted September 10, 2009 at 9:56 pm | Permalink

    It’s worth noting that, prior to this thread going live tonight, several comments about these recent cuts were left at the end of an earlier thread on Ypsi bus service. If you would like to see those, just click here.

  3. Oliva
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    And here, in no time, is stunningly supportive evidence of my claim that this blog is a prime local hub. Thank you, Murph. Thank you, Mark, for the excellent idea of inviting Murph to give us his take, purely interesting and worthwhile, as usual. Generous too. Worth rereading, sharing, and keeping in easy reach.

  4. David Choberka
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 12:11 am | Permalink

    I ride the 5 to work everyday. I just wrote an email to my councilman, Bodary, and the mayor expressing my dismay at this decision. I consider safety, transportation, and basic health all essential services. I would gladly pay more taxes to have a decent transportation that would promote rather than drag down Ypsilanti’s efforts to propser and thrive.

  5. Glen S.
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 1:42 am | Permalink

    I agree with Murph’s wise analysis (above), in that much of this current argument is focused on the “symptom” of this year’s AATA contract, rather than on the “disease” of our inadequate funding model for public transit. And, frankly, if I had my way, I’d raise the gas tax immediately, and dedicate the revenue directly to buses and trains.

    However, that is clearly not going to happen (at least not in the near future), and, until the local and state economies improve, a countywide or regional transit millage looks unlikely any time soon, either.

    So, then, an honest question: Is City Council’s direction to AATA to eliminate Route # 5 and limit service hours on Routes # 10 and 11 a step forward (toward strengthening the system and building local support for public transit) — or a step backward (one that weakens our local transit network and threatens to erode public support)?

    My bottom line concern is that if we continue down this path …. eliminating a route or two here, reducing service times there … by the time we get to the point where we might be ready to launch a millage campaign, there won’t be much left to ask people to support — at least on our side of the County.

  6. EOS
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    Glen –

    You are mistaken in your assertion that, “…most people on all sides of this issue can agree about the need to develop and support a regional or county-wide funding model…” The vast majority of families in this county are doing the best they can to keep up in these challenging economic times and can not afford to pay for an expensive bus service between Ypsilanti City and Ann Arbor that doesn’t benefit their communities and that they don’t use. Most families have a priority to keep their home out of foreclosure and their children fed and provided with medical care.

  7. rjm
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    EOS makes an excellent point. These are challenging economic times that can be improved by cutting a bus service that is an active and passive drain. Active in that we have to pay for it, passive in that those riders aren’t buying cars. Cut the bus service and all those people riding the buses will have to buy cars, thereby giving a jolt to the local economy we haven’t seen since the Crash-the-Clunker program. If, for some reason, a rider chooses to not buy a car, and instead decides to quit his job or drop out of school, why then, it’s another job available in the community. Win again.

    Seemingly vibrant economies with good public transportation, pseudo-vibrant economies, such as Switzerland, Paris, Chicago, New York City, Boston, and St Louis don’t realize the immanent danger they face.

  8. Bus Rider
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 8:23 am | Permalink

    Just stepped off the bus. Sad to hear of this. Ann Arbor, it seems, can’t realize that those of us who pick up the bus in Ypsi generally take said bus to Ann Arbor to work for employers there, shop, etc. Affordable bus service allows their property values to stay high. Once they remove their conduit to inexpensive labor, all of that changes. Either they need to create more affordable housing, or wages will rise. I think it’s short sighted on Ann Arbor’s part to allow this to happen.

  9. Alicia
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    It seems like there should be a way to simultaneously fund public transit and incentivise its use. A gas tax is actually not a bad idea, except that the current AATA system does not serve the whole county. What about a parking tax on top of meter and lot rates. And a regional one, too, so that Ann Arbor parking revenue would subsidize route 5 and others?

  10. Mark H.
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    Thank you, Murph, for your wise analysis of the transportation funding problem, and thank you, Mark, for hosting this conversation.

    Yes, transportation is a system, and any decision making that does not recognize that will produce inadequate results. That’s what we’re living with, and it’s a shame.

  11. Glen S.
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:04 am | Permalink

    Mark H.,

    I agree that making transit decisions in the absence of some kind of plan will produce inadequate results.

    So, again, I ask: Does City Council’s recent resolution directing AATA to eliminate Route #5 and limit service hours on Routes # 10 and 11 — introduced and passed during a special meeting following a holiday weekend, with no public notice, and virtually no public input — seem like part of a strategic “vision” for public transit in Ypsilanti, or just another hastily put-together, crisis-driven decision that merely kicks the can down the road for another year?

  12. Kim
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:08 am | Permalink

    This makes absolutely no sense. I understand that Ann Arbor doesn’t want to pay to subsidize Ypsi, but this would mean cutting well traveled lines between A2 and Ypsi while retaining virtually unused routes within the City of Ann Arbor. I can’t believe these people would rather run empty buses, polluting the environment for no reason, than run full ones, where they’re actually making a positive difference environmentally, socially, etc. Ann Arborites are green… up to a point. When push comes to shove, though, it’s all about protecting what’s theirs.

  13. dan
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    The economic downturn is truly a factor in funding, and a lot of people need the busses to earn a living. I propose setting up a permanent PBS-style funding drive, so people with means from any part of the county who want to help their disadvanteged neighbors in Ypsi can donate as much as they want to keep the bus lines going. Maybe even use direct deposit, so you can voluntarily give a regular amount every month. Perhaps you can earn little buttons or some such, like a blue one for donating under $50, a yellow one for donating $51-$100, and a red one for over $100. Maybe a different thing like a little bus-shaped lapel pin if you’re a regular direct-deposit donator.

    I don’t know. Just a stupid idea.

  14. dan
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I didn’t mean to imply that Ypsi folks or anyone who uses the bus are disadvanteged. Sorry about my choice of words — I hope the spirit of my meaning comes across.

  15. Sarah
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 11:50 am | Permalink

    I agree with Gary. This was a total sucker punch! The community should have had more of a chance to be involved/informed of this proposed resolution. There should have been more of an opportunity to consider other proposals and the repercussions of each. This is indeed hasty! People in Ypsi are so jaded about city government after water street- and with the high property taxes we pay- and losing many public services already- city government has a lot to prove to those that live here. Even more so they have a duty to look to Ypsilanti’s future and encourage people it is a good place to live- limiting public transit is counter-productive. After all the train is a-comin’ and having effective busing is essential!

  16. Sarah
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 11:52 am | Permalink

    Oh I guess I mean I agree with Glen :c)

  17. Hmmm
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 12:46 pm | Permalink

    So AATA isn’t going to eliminate its Packard service within Ann Arbor city limits just because Ypsi is balking, is it? Where would the #5 route stop exactly?

  18. Mike B
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    No sucker punch. Not done to slip it through. Those who follow any council news knew we were talking back and forth. AATA requested the decision by 10-1-09 with time to give them time to vote on our offer. The speed was an AATA idea, not council’s.
    The community has no newspaper. Blogs and online news is in short bites and rarely the whole story. It gets difficult anymore to inform citizens what is going on.

  19. Curt Waugh
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 1:08 pm | Permalink

    Great post, Murph. Thank you for adding some learned perspective to this discussion.

    (I gotta admit, I just about jumped through my screen when I started reading rjm’s post. My sarcasm instrumentation needs some calibratin’.)

  20. EOS
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    rjm was being sarcastic?

  21. Glen S.
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Permalink

    When Advance Ypsilanti (AY-PAC) first learned that City Council was planning to discuss possible cuts to AATA service at their Sept. 8 meeting, we issued a press release to help spread the word. Unfortunately, because of the timing (right before the holiday weekend), few media outlets picked up the story.

    However, anyone who is interested in receiving future updates (and meeting notices) regarding this and other issues should feel free to visit the AY-PAC website at: advanceypsilanti.com.

  22. kjc
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    that “EOS makes an excellent point” bit should have given it away.

  23. EOS
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    kjc-
    exactly! :-)

  24. wetdolphinmissile
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 2:01 pm | Permalink

    And isn’t AY-PAC just the same people who brought us to this place in history-the believers in Water Street, higher city taxes, etc…?

  25. EOS
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    It’s hard to believe that anyone might think that City Council took action on the AATA budget in secret. Possible cuts to the AATA budget have been discussed for the past 15 years or more. The AY-PAC was formed as a result of many discussions on this same issue.

  26. KT1
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 3:05 pm | Permalink

    We need to focus on a long term countywide initiative. It’s the only responsible thing to do. And, in the short term, we’re going to have to cut service, which, like it or not, will disproportionately effect the poor. Long term, we need a regional gas tax. Does anyone know if that model has been used elsewhere to fund mass transit?

  27. Glen S.
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 3:18 pm | Permalink

    EOS,

    That’s exactly my point.

    Everybody who was paying attention knew as early as June that the amount City Council was budgeting for transit for FY 2010 was far short (56%) of the amount needed to continue funding transit at current levels. Still, it seems that some Council members decided to play “chicken” with AATA — assuming, it seems, that they would back down, and cover our budget shortfall.

    When AATA said “no,” and instead offered up a list of choices for service cuts, these same Council members were suddenly backed into a corner, and so obviously, they felt forced to quickly come up with a “Plan B” to attempt to close the gap before Oct. 1.

    The result– a hastily put-together list of cuts, service reductions and supplemental “stimulus” money, developed and passed with no notice and virtually no public input — is not the result of our budget crisis, but rather, a political one.

  28. Heidi
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 3:50 pm | Permalink

    What was the bus service costing Ann Arbor again? something like 200,000 dollars?

    Hey, Ann Arbor has to pay for that 200,000 to 750,000 dollar sculpture outside of city hall somehow. Ann Arbor talks big on how much they care about community, environment, people, etc…but there is not much to back behind their talk. And yes, I understand that 1% of public building funds are supposed to go to the Art Council to make the bulidings pretty..but in this depression/recession, seems that all funding should head towards making economy and jobs top priority. Get rid of the bus lines and all of that is going to fall yet again.
    http://www.mlive.com/news/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2009/07/artists_design_for_public_art.html

  29. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 4:38 pm | Permalink

    The thing we’re all missing here is how this ties into Michigan’s biggest problem: urban sprawl and the abandonment of our cities. People want to move out and leave the cities to rot, or fill them up with cars and commuters. It’s become the American way, and certainly the Michigan way. We refuse to see transit, or most other issues, as something that affects all of us. It’s “those people’s” problem. The truth is, from the view of those outside of our state, we are a laughing stock. We are lumped together with California as people who have no idea how to make their state operate. Michigan steadfastly refuses to cooperate with itself. People who live in the suburbs and townships can’t or won’t see how problems in our cities have a direct effect on them, or why they should care about it.
    Transit falls easily into this category. Those who live outside the city say “I drive a car; I don’t need a bus or bus system”. True, a rural bus route makes little sense. But it is this same group of people that complain about the length and slow pace of their commute into urban areas where their jobs are located. An increase in public transit use and availability would ease their commute. A high speed interurban train system would lower commute times for those who ride, and relieve traffic congestion for those who must continue to drive. Higher availability of buses allows for people to leave their cars on the edge of the city and allows city residents to leave their cars parked at home, again reducing traffic congestion and pollution at the same time. These are all win-win propositions for everyone involved, but still we are only willing to look at how it effects tax rates in our own area, and not factor in the overall cost savings in gas and time that can be realized.
    Transit is another place that Michigan and California are comparable. L.A. is spending billions to build a subway that they sold to Goodyear, GM and other auto companies, who shut it down to sell more cars. In Michigan, we are going to spend billions to rebuild rail lines that we sold to Goodyear, GM and other auto companies who shut them down in order to sell more cars. A laughable waste. People in other states see these things and wonder what we are thinking.
    We want to say that A2 has the money to go around. They should be able to help out Ypsilanti. We want to say that Ypsilanti should be able to stand on its own and pay its own way. Commuters who drive cars want to say that bus service has no effect on them and shouldn’t have to pay for it. The truth is that public transit systems effect more than just the cities they serve. They affect all who come in contact with the city, even by proxy. Mom and dad loose time with the kids and more in the car. CO2 and other pollution levels rise. More land is paved over for parking lots.
    I guess my point here is that yes, we need more regional cooperation in regards to public transit. We must find a way to fund it state wide. To reduce congestion, reduce pollution, and move us into league with the successful, modern metropolitan areas around the country and around the world. But Michigan has a cooperation problem, and until we solve that, we are unlikely to make progress, or improve our image to business and people looking in. As long as all of Michigan’s problems continue to belong to the people in the next city, county or township over, we will be stagnant economically and socially. We must do something to revive our cities. Mass transit is one step in that direction. Failure to go down this road will lead to the decline of all of us, not just those of us who choose to stay in the cities. Transit is the gas of an economic engine.

  30. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

    People leave the cities because they feel safer, freer, and less forced to suffer fools in local government outside of cities. It’s called voting with your feet. Nothing wrong with that. Forcing everybody else to pay for our services just because we keep making financial blunders seems kinda incompetent-assholish to me. If we in the cities make bad policy choices, we should be made to bear the brunt of it. The buck stops here, not in the rest of Washtenaw county. Seems to me.

  31. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    What I left out is that cutting our transit budget certainly does send the message to those who do not use it that there are already more busses that are needed. If they can cut busses, why should we give up our tax dollars to fund more busses? We have to find a way to convince those who refuse to see the value of public transit that it is important and affects them too, even if they don’t use it. Again, in Michigan, it is nearly impossible to get people to see how they benefit from a service they don’t directly use.

    The council meeting where this was passed was a special session, the day after a holiday. I knew there was a meeting and I thought about going, but decided, hey it’s one meeting, and it’s a special session where they just talk about the budget, right? What could it hurt to miss this one? The council packet for the meeting was published that day, and does not contain the service reduction bill that was passed. It in fact states clearly that there was a budget discussion planned. There is no mention of a final decision on bus service being made.

    The excuse being thrown around, that we had to give the AATA a budget decision by 10-01-09 is ridiculous. Why couldn’t this have been done at the next scheduled regular council meeting (moved from the 15 to the 22nd, fyi) where it could have been published before hand? I am willing to bet that if this had been done at a regular council meeting, there would have been a huge public opposition in attendance. But it was snuck through. Kind of like when you bring in an organization to discuss their use of a word and then pull their city contract. It’s not an out and out secret, but it’s not very honest either. By the way, how much bus service could we have kept intact if we did not have to pay for the maintenance of Riverside and Frog Island Parks? I bet more than the $22,ooo that was thrown around at the time. We are starting to see more and more of the poor fiscal decision dominoes line up and fall down.

  32. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

    BA,
    That kind of thinking is what is the problem. Instead of voting with our feet, we need to ACTUALLY VOTE to put people in office who will work to solve our problems. Voting with your feet is running away from a problem and not having the balls to actually do something about it. A lazy cowardly way out. You don’t feel safe? Form a neighboorhood watch. You don’t like your taxes? Volunteer to help out in the parks or clean up trash around the city. The health of our cities directly effects the health of our state, no matter what part of it you live in. There is no such thing as an isolated community. We are all affected by these issues. Seems to me.

  33. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    Andy, if you’re in a stark minority, you really may have no other option than to defect/emigrate. If our ancestors hadn’t taken the “lazy, cowardly way out,” none of us would be here. It is no moral failing to keep geographic migration as an option in dealing with problems in one’s environment that are beyond one’s control.

  34. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 6:40 pm | Permalink

    Really, you’re going to compare the pilgrims to urban sprawl? Give me a break. That is assinine. We’re not running away from religious repression when we move out of cities, we are running away from our civic responsibilities! What stark minority? People who want to live in a nice place with decent city services, a good public safty record and good schools? Is this a joke? Who, that isn’t a degenerate or a criminal doesn’t want that? Or are you suggesting that all cities in Michigan are only populated by degenerates and criminals? None of the problems we face in our cities are beyond our control unless we decide they are and refuse to do anything about it. Stark minority. What a joke.

  35. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    …besides, we’re talking about making people from outside Ypsilanti pay for our services that we can’t pay for because we blew our money on stupid shit and otherwise made bad decisions. There’s nothing ethical about that. We don’t have a large economic base to draw on like Ann Arbor, Chicago, New York, or Boston. We have to make do with what we have instead of forcing other communities to pay for it. The key to fiscal responsibility is, like they said on SNL, “do not buy stuff you can not afford.” We seem to think it’s more like, “blow your money on stupid stuff and make someone else pay the rent.”

    Let’s just take our medicine and become gradually less foolish, shall we? Taxing other communities to pay for our mistakes is the lazy, cowardly way out.

  36. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 7:00 pm | Permalink

    We’re not running away from religious repression when we move out of cities, we are running away from our civic responsibilities! What stark minority? People who want to live in a nice place with decent city services, a good public safty record and good schools? Is this a joke? Who, that isn’t a degenerate or a criminal doesn’t want that?

    I have no moral obligation to stay wedded to a city. My civic responsibilities are to vote (which I do, to no avail), to make my voice heard (which I do, to no avail), and to prepare to defend myself and my community from invasion by the redcoats or other such disaster (which I do, to no avail). I do all sorts of other unsung deeds to help my community as well. I’m not entirely sure what nice place with a good public safety record, good city services, and good schools you are referring to.

    I find the manner in which many Ypsi residents disrespect other communities’ (and individuals’) autonomy alarming, and very telling as to their respect (or lack thereof) for their neighbors’ boundaries. This seems to me just one facet of what’s wrong with the majority rule of this city; the other being fiscal irresponsibility.

    Here’s what’s right about Ypsi: urban chickens, urban bees, good culture, good music, good edgy art, and likeable, interesting people. Once the fiscal irresponsibility and disrespect of other people’s boundaries is solved, this place will be a utopia.

  37. Glen S.
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    B.A.,

    Did you even read Murph’s statement above?

    This is not about “making other people from outside Ypsilanti pay for our services …” Ultimately, it is about figuring out how to design a system in which the entire region benefits from (and helps pay for) a vital community asset (public transit) that is important now — and will become ever more important in the future.

    In order to do that, local governments and institutions will need to work together as “good-faith” partners. However, every time Ypsilanti’s elected officials play politics with AATA funding, and/or rush through ill-considered, “emergency” cuts to routes or service hours, they not only demonstrate that they are not serious about supporting public transit, they undermine Ypsilanti’s credibility as a good-faith partner in developing a more sustainable funding model.

  38. EOS
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    Bus service between the two cities does not benefit to the majority in the township. The overwhelming majority of persons living in Ypsilanti township do not work in either the cities of Ypsilanti or Ann Arbor. Bus service between the two cities would not be utilized by us, nor would less congestion on city roads benefit us since we do not commute on those roads. Bus service into rural areas would expedite increased population density and cause those of us who value nature and open spaces to move even further out. We choose to live in an area without mass transportation because we prefer it. Those who prefer public transportation would be best served by moving to locations where it is desired, provided, and funded by a sufficiently dense population so that it could be affordable.

  39. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 9:55 pm | Permalink

    I did, Glen. His expertise aside, I found fault in this statement of his:

    Reducing bus service in Ypsi adds congestion to the roads between Ypsi and Ann Arbor – congestion costs people money (from lost time), increases auto emissions, and increases crashes, and these effects are felt even by people who don’t ride the bus.

    I need to see evidence supporting these claims, since they are by and large the foundation of his proposal for a regional property tax to pay for the bus lines in Ypsi — and my experience driving from Ypsi to Ann Arbor and back again tells me otherwise.

    Buses are the biggest pains in the ass I encounter on the road. They stop in the middle of traffic, they increase congestion, and they therefore increase the likelihood of auto collisions (either from drivers not stopping in time or trying to quickly scoot out from the bus lane into the left lane, where traffic is moving by more quickly). A couple dozen cars in place of every bus would be far easier to deal with and would not disrupt the flow of traffic, especially on Huron and Washtenaw in Ann Arbor (in my experience). This isn’t bullshit, that’s what actually happens on the road with buses, as many of us who drive often can attest to.

    He also assumes that those who take the bus would go out and buy a car if they didn’t take the bus, which is an impossible assertion to make. No one knows or will ever know if that were true or not. They might car pool. They might bike. They might just not go. No one knows, not even Murph.

    So, since the foundation of his assertion is faulty, despite his expertise I am forced to disagree with his proposed solution.

  40. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:12 pm | Permalink

    Dan’s solution above sounds good. If implimented, I’ll fork over $500 for it initially and $25/month to support the Ypsi bus lines, and I don’t use the buses at all. But I’ll be damned if I’ll agree that it’s okay to tax people against their will who don’t use the buses at all or even live in or between Ann Arbor and Ypsi, just because our city government is bad with money.

  41. Trudatte
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    Then be damned.

    I don’t drive a tank in the military but I’m taxed to pay for people to drive tanks in the military. I’ll be damned if I agree to tax people against their will who don’t use tanks at all.

    Brackinald. You sound super duper brilliant. What would you pay tax for?

  42. Trudatte
    Posted September 11, 2009 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    I mean it. I’ve been reading your comments a while. What would you happily pay taxes for?

  43. Mark H.
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 6:59 am | Permalink

    That any reader or comment maker of this blog would dispute that buses, which may carry 40 plus riders at a time, reduce road congestion, testifies to a narrow mindedness about the issues involved in transportation systems than it does to those persons’ grasp of the well established facts. Imagine a shopping mall’s parking lot that is full of cars – hard to find a parking space. Imagine too that each half hour buses pick up and drop off, say, 8 people. Isn’t it clear that shoppers there who’ve never been on a bus are benefiting by having bus service at the mall? Same too for people going to a hospital who’d like to park close it, or to a campus where parking is scarce.

    The reality is this: low density development in some areas generates high volume traffic and congestion, if not in those low density areas, then in nearby areas that are destinations for the people living in the sprawling areas. And buses help address those problems.

    Policy recommendations of experts like Murph can and should be debated. But responsible debaters will, as citizens, take time to learn something about the nature of the beast before asserting simplistic ideas that ignore the complex terrain of the issue at hand.

  44. Mark H.
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 7:11 am | Permalink

    Glen S.,

    I think we’re in agreement on desired policies, such as a real country wide transportation system, adequately funded. I think we differ over what the sources of the currently inadequate level of funding for public bus service. The Ypsi city council is not the point of origination of that inadequate level of funding. Murdock, Robb, Bodary, the whole council even are all having to respond to problems made outside of this city, but using the meager funds produced by the city. Mike B’s comment is entirely satisfactory to me.

  45. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 7:42 am | Permalink

    I’ll be damned if I agree to tax people against their will who don’t use tanks at all.

    Not a bad idea.

    Mark H., your operative word is imagine. I’d rather deal with facts when public policy changes are proposed, but I know playing make-believe is more up the alley of folks who can’t accept or produce original sources.

    And why is no one interested in the voluntary funding idea? Is this less about getting funding for the buses than it is about expanding our power to force people to do things against their will?

  46. E. G. Penet
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    A very basic education in civics … like a basic course in logic … would help many of these contributors think more broadly about all that is implied in living in a society and social justice … whether one prefers downtown or suburban or farm life … it’s the same planet, same state, same county, closely neighboring townships.

    There’s a beauty in that picture, if only you could see it, which, if preserved by good government and active participation of all citizens in the debate … could result in a workable solution to transit and other issues facing us at the moment … policing, fire, etc.

    Full participation is that we all accept the goal of a transit system that serves all well … meaning BA remains isolated as he wishes, unless he powers up his combine or bailer to get to the post office … and meaning that I can walk to Ace Hardware and not have to deal with BA in the paint aisle.

  47. Posted September 12, 2009 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    BA – If you’d merely donate $50,000 now, and $1,000 /mo, I’d happily provide you with a study of the congestion effects of different levels of bus service. :)

    I will point out that that roadway congestion mitigation was not the exclusive reason I presented for regional funding mechanisms being more appropriate than municipal – but nor am I planning on spending months preparing a comprehensive post for mm.com. (Sorry, Mark – you’re just not /that/ high on my list of priorities.)

    I don’t have on hand easy numbers for roadway level-of-service changes created by bus service, but will offer related data. As part of the go!pass program, Prof. Jonathan Levine at UM’s planning program has done a series of surveys of downtown Ann Arbor employees’ commuting behavior. You can google up the reports on the 2001 and 2005 surveys. Conclusions include the estimate that the introduction of the go!pass alone removed 100+ daily commuter cars from downtown A2’s parking from 2000 to 2005. Given that a parking deck costs $6,000-$7,000 in capital costs per space, that means the go!pass alone can be valued at $7,000,000 in avoided parking capital costs alone (plus parking operations, maintenance, parking user convenience, etc.). Which is why the A2DDA continues to fund the go!pass.

    Like I said, that’s not exactly the question you asked me (it’s more about the question you asked Mark H. re “imagining”), but the offer stands to study the issues of your choice for a small commission…

  48. E. G. Penet
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Think of it this way … in theory … I am willing to pay a transit tax to have universal access throughout the county … that’s my choice. At the other end of the spectrum, there will be some who will “gladly” pay the transit tax to preserve their isolation in more remote areas, except for an occasional dirt road or fire break. Different rationale, but same result.

    Therefore, I support BA’s isolation and will vote to use his transit tax to keep him right where he is, which is where he says he wants to remain and be not bothered by buses and the like. Excellent. We all get what we want!

  49. Trudatte
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Brackinald. Let me ask again.

    What would you happily pay taxes for?

  50. Glen S.
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Mark H.

    I’ve been attending the special budget sessions, and I’ve seen the (rather bleak) revenue projections for the next five years — so I understand the magnitude of the challenge we face going forward in terms of continuing to fund key priorities. However, I still think cutting public transit is neither wise, nor warranted, at this time.

    Even if the City committed to”full funding “for 2010 ($282,000), it would still represent only 2 percent of the total budget. This modest investment would allow us maintain our current network of coverage and service hours, and continue to guarantee convenient, affordable and reliable service for the more than 600,000 riders (including many of our student, senior, low-income and handicapped neighbors) who boarded buses in Ypsilanti last year.

    Instead, City Council has decided we can pay only about 56% of the total requested by AATA — thereby reducing or eliminating service for thousands of Ypsilanti residents, and once again calling into question our City’s commitment to public transit, and our seriousness as a good-faith partner in developing a more sustainable funding model — all for a “savings” that represents less than 9/10 of one percent of the budget.

    Likewise, since every dollar the City invests in public transit is matched by more than $3.80 in combined state and federal funds, and rider fares (currently $1.25), it is hard to imagine any other City service that adds so much to our community’s quality of life, for such a small public investment.

  51. trusty getto
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 10:20 am | Permalink

    The solution to this problem lies at the state level. The mass transit problems that we face are too large and too expensive to tackle locally under current economic conditions. Anyone who thinks this problem will be easily solved by a grass roots millage campaign is not seeing the kinds of economic problems that are ubiquitous throughout this region of the state.

    It sounds like some people are more interested in starting the campaign season early than really solving this problem. That’s a damn shame, because we are far more likely to solve this problem by working together than by criticizing duly elected leaders who are obviously working hard doing the best they can to tackle problems for which there are no easy solutions. Seems like every time they make a difficult decision, a vocal minority calls them names, questions their motives, accuses them of holding secret meetings and pretends they have no idea what the “community” wants. Then they act surprised when nobody goes out of their way to invite them to participate in the debate the next time.

    The desires and goals of this community are not exemplified by its most vocal minority.

  52. E. G. Penet
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Exactly TG.

    Conversely, the bigger the pie, the smaller each bite needs to be.

  53. E. G. Penet
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    The issue is NOT the future of bus service in Ypsilanti or anywhere else, for that matter.

    It’s the future of public and private transportation … what’s the plan … the whole plan? Then, too, how does that plan help keep BA isolated where he wants to be, while allowing me to tyo get around without encumbering BA and all my other neighbors … meaning … the other guy.

  54. Glen S.
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 11:02 am | Permalink

    (Sorry, I meant to post this in the current thread.)

    Trusty,

    On February 21, 2006, you said, on this very blog:

    “How is it, in progressive, liberal Ypsilanti, we are suggesting balancing our budget on the backs of people who need busses to get around?

    I don’t mind bearing the brunt of whatever cuts come my way, and goodness knows I asked thousands of people to bear theirs last year when I was a party to balancing our district budget in part by closing schools and eliminating jobs. But doing it on the backs of people who ain’t mobile sounds an awful lot like another tax cut for the rich from where I’m sitting.”

    Then, in 2007, you were a vocal supporter of a group (along with then- Council candidates Murdock, Robb and Bodary) , which encouraged Ypsilanti residents to vote against the proposed city income tax, in part, by promising that a “No” vote would be a vote in favor of preserving public transit. A flyer sent to voters just days before that election stated:

    “the only way we are going to maintain funding for public transportation is to keep the pressure on. It is up to us to continue demanding that public transportation is a basic service to be funded by the City. It takes the votes of four City Council members to cut services. Let’s see how they really vote.”

    The question of whether and how we fund public transit in Ypsilanti is a legitimate one, and the decisions we make will have enormous consequences for our community — so naturally, there is a major political dimension to this issue.

    However, based on your previous statements and positions — for you to claim that those who disagree with you about this issue are merely playing politics is hypocritical, at best.

  55. Open Meetings Act
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 11:33 am | Permalink

    I have just found out that Pete Murdock and Brian Robb will be attending another secret meeting this afternoon in the alley behind East Cross between North Grove and High Streets. It’s being disguised as a neighborhood block party for the Historic East Side Neighborhood Association, but we all know what’s what.

    It’s supposed to start at 3PM, so get there before they start passing any more legislation.

    And just in case this really is a block party, make sure to bring a dish to pass and a chair to sit in. There will be hot dogs, hamburgers, drinks, and the first 10 people to show up supposedly get a $500 property tax voucher.

  56. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Brackinald. Let me ask again.

    What would you happily pay taxes for?

    I permit you to ask me anything you like, as often as you like. Perhaps if Mark wanted to start a thread just for me to theorize what I would and wouldn’t happily pay taxes for, I might answer your question.

    In the present thread, however, the question is whether communities outside of Ypsi should be forced to pay for the share of AATA funding that we can’t meet. I am already paying taxes to support Ypsi’s share of AATA funding, so you should direct your question to someone who doesn’t live in Ypsi. And, I would happily donate to help fund the AATA if it were made voluntary, so the question of whether I personally care about the AATA enough to fork over money to help save bus routs is off the table.

    How much would anyone else here donate to help keep those cut bus routs? Am I, the selfish libertarian, the only one who is loving enough to actually donate his own money, or are the rest of you only loving enough to forcibly take and use other people’s money?

  57. E. G. Penet
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    Losing the matching funds IS a shame.

    However, the area system I’d like to see resembles something akin to what the 20/20 group was heading toward … several loops or routes of “feeder” buses connecting the eight shopping/entertainment districts and educational campuses and medical facilities, all feeding into the downtown station where thee big honker buses await to take more direct routes into neighboring communities.

  58. Posted September 12, 2009 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Glen: You are all sunshine and bunnies today, eh?

    Well, I must admit I did not see the whole economic meltdown issue before it happened. For that, I am sincerely sorry.

    That said, unlike you, my brand of progressive politics favors taxing the rich, making businesses pay their fair share, and avoiding regressive taxation without representation, which is what your silly, doomed-from-the-start income tax idea was all about.

    We need buses. They are important. Frankly, I thought that was obvious and not subject to debate. I thought that in 2007 and still think that. But we also need police officers. We need firemen. We need ordinance enforcement. We need a gazillion things, and we don’t have the money for them all. Given current economic trends, which police officer do you favor laying off? Can you provide the name of the expendable fireman?

    What you don’t mention in your argument is that AATA’s position is fundamentally unsound. Their request for a full payment from Ypsi and a 10% increase in funding in subsequent years is preposterous. If Mayor Schreiber had started a negotiation with them rather than caving at the get-go, we would not be in the abysmal bargaining position we are in today.

    Given current economic conditions, we cannot afford everything we need–everything that is important–which means we must compromise. I personally favor a modest increase in fares, a modest increase toward funding the subsidy, and even a modest cut in routes, if that’s what it takes given the current situation we are facing. If you do the math, an average $.25 increase in fares runs out to about $130 over the year. Even for someone making only $15,000 per year, this represents less than 1% of their income. Obviously, this is by way of example, not by way of proposal. It would seem that this problem would be fairly easy to work out if the parties came to the table, had a discussion and negotiation, and worked together to actually solve the problem.

    With regard to a millage, I will support it. I’ll donate money to the campaign. I’ll blog and tell people to vote for it. However, I don’t think it will pass. Those in the western half of the county couldn’t care less about it, and it will undoubtedly compete with other millage proposals. The township is thinking of a public safety millage. The schools are thinking of a millage. Here in Ypsi people are floating the idea of a Water Street millage to free up money and pay for that debacle. When these are all put to a ballot and despite that busing is a worthy subject for a millage, I just don’t see a mass transit millage making the cut among more than half of voters in the county. It is not realistic. And since I think it is not realistic, the question then becomes, what are the reasonable, realistic alternatives?

  59. Jennifer
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 7:33 pm | Permalink

    I attended the city council mtg on buses this week (my first one, I’m sheepish to say) and spoke briefly (along with all of the other residents) in favor of maintaining current service levels.

    I haven’t seen mentioned here the brief testimony from the city council videographer (an African-American man; I’m sorry I don’t know his name) who briefly left the camera and came to the mike to say that if the public knew that the council was there, about to cut bus service in the city, they would be beating the doors down to protest.

    I support a millage, I support private funding, I support a regional solution, I support whatever it takes to stop the dismantling of this system. (And I know that all of them are less likely in the wake of the resolution to cut service in Ypsi).

    I was tactful in the meeting and didn’t name names, but yes it was Brian Robb (who didn’t say a word, while I was at the meeting) who assured me, standing just beyond the campaigning line at Adams Elementary on the day of the city income tax election, that services would not be cut. Well here we are.

    As a regular rider of AATA for whom the 4 and 5 are basically equivalent for my commute (and for whom the 3 is also a vital link between WCC and UM) I know this much: overflow traffic on the 4 will mean that the people in Ann Arbor (those who already pay a millage) who live on Washtenaw between Manchester and South U won’t be able to board the bus because it will be too full. This happens already on winter mornings not infrequently, and it will get worse. Tell those people, when they’re waiting in the snow and watching full buses go by, that Ypsi service doesn’t affect them. (I felt like the men (definitely excepting Lois Richardson here) on the city council mulling these service cuts not only had no idea of what it means to commute by bus, but also forgot that we don’t live in a mild climate where whipping winds or 2 foot snow drifts on unmaintained sidewalks never happen). And we’re not even talking about those in Ypsi for whom the 5 is a lifeline but the 4 isn’t an option.

    Finally, a procedural observation: I found the structure of the agenda at the city council meeting strange and unconducive to meaningful citizen participation. The public participation period came before the presentation by AATA and the presentation of the resolution by Murdock. Which meant that no citizens could say, PLEASE DON’T VOTE ON THIS RESOLUTION TONIGHT, and that I was pretty much in the dark about what cuts were on the table when I spoke. I think that it also meant that AATA got off way too easy: all of the frustration was directed at the Council (which certainly deserved it), but no one could say to the AATA reps in the room, Really? Can’t you guys work out a deal? Does this really seem like the time for a 10% increase? Aren’t you shooting yourselves in the foot if you start hacking away at your own system?

    When I have a choice between the 4 and 5, I’ll be taking the 5 to and from Ypsi from here until April, as an ongoing statement that this service is vital and should not have been cut.

  60. Paul Schreiber
    Posted September 12, 2009 at 10:46 pm | Permalink

    Jennifer said:
    “The public participation period came before the presentation by AATA and the presentation of the resolution by Murdock. Which meant that no citizens could say, PLEASE DON’T VOTE ON THIS RESOLUTION TONIGHT, and that I was pretty much in the dark about what cuts were on the table when I spoke.”

    I agree with Jennifer that presenting the resolution to alter AATA bus service at the city council table without publishing it online prevented informed audience participation. Almost all city council resolutions are published online in the Ypsilanti city council packet the Friday evening before a Tuesday meeting. City council should strive to have all resolutions published online before meetings.

    The AATA board will meet on September 23 to consider the city of Ypsilanti AATA resolution that cuts service to route 5 in the city, reduces routes 10 and 11 in the city by one hour, uses 101k$ of AATA federal stimulus funds to make up the shortfall for 2010, and sets a payment of 218k$ for 2011. AATA had asked for 306k$ (assuming the current service) for 2011, but the proposed bus route reductions would bring AATA’s requested payment down to 242k$.

    Paul Schreiber
    734-277-5446

  61. kjc
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 1:18 am | Permalink

    and the incredible significance of “voluntary” is? i’m missing it somehow. it seems obvious to me that people who live in a society are dependent on one another. it seems obvious to you that they’re not, or shouldn’t be, or what? i don’t get it. what is the principle being defended again? that if you decide on your own to care then it’s great and good and yes let’s do it paypal-wise, but if someone else somewhere, in the form of a democratically elected govt, says this is for the greater good then it’s insidiously authoritarian and we should rebel and claim our right to do nothing for others except what we woke up feeling like voluntarily doing out of the goodness of our hearts?

  62. kjc
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 1:19 am | Permalink

    and jennifer, fyi, your message committed to being at the next council mtg. i needed that and thank you.

  63. kjc
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 1:22 am | Permalink

    committed *me

  64. Glen S.
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Trusty,

    You said: ” … my brand of progressive politics favors taxing the rich, making businesses pay their fair share, and avoiding regressive taxation without representation …”

    Then, just three paragraphs later, you said: “I personally favor a modest increase in fares, a modest increase toward funding the subsidy, and even a modest cut in routes, if that’s what it takes given the current situation we are facing. If you do the math, an average $.25 increase in fares runs out to about $130 over the year. Even for someone making only $15,000 per year, this represents less than 1% of their income.”

    Can you please explain how cutting routes — coupled with what amounts to a 1 percent income tax on people making as little as $15,000 per year — either taxes the rich, makes businesses pay their fair share, or avoids regressive taxation without representation?

  65. Posted September 13, 2009 at 10:12 am | Permalink

    Sure. As I’ve said many times before, a solution must be sought at the state level. You have never expressed interest in what changes I think need to be made at the state level, but I will be happy to share with you generally the things I think need to be dealt with.

    1. Implement a sliding scale, income based state income tax rather than the flat rate we currently have. Should be modeled on federal income tax, just a much lower rate.
    2. Increase sales tax by 1 percentage point, and increase the luxury tax on big-ticket items.
    3. Deal once and for all with the chronic problem of inadequate and inequitable business taxes. If the legislature can’t figure this out, then it needs to simply steal a tax scheme from another state that has a proven track record.
    4. Revamp revenue sharing and other formulas that allocate way more money to wealthy areas and wealthy school districts. We need to ensure that even the poorest of municipalities has sufficient revenue to provide needed services. Also, the true cost of servicing non-profits, school districts, and colleges and universities must be factored into revenue sharing. The liability to cover these costs are not correctly reflected in current payments from the state to municipalities such as Ypsi.

    A fare increase is not an income tax. It is implemented without regard to income. It is implemented whether the rider is a student and has no income or whether they are an engineer and makes $60K or more a year. It is based on use of the service, just as the fare is. But then, Glen, you know all this. You simply chose your words in a manner intended to communicate something other than the truth.

    You didn’t identify the cuts you’d like to make to public safety to fully fund buses without engaging in any negotiation or compromise whatsoever. You seem to love to single out a cause and advocate for it, and then act like a solution to one problem does not have an effect on anything else. You can’t be serious with that approach.

    If you go back and trace other comments I have left on this blog (and on others), you will see a clear theme of a need to deal with these problems on a state level. We have a built in structural deficit in the State of Michigan. This problem is not new, but with the economic meltdown, it has led to all-new lows in access to state funds. Localities cannot successfully solve these problems on their own. I’ve held this opinion since 2003, and I still hold it now. It was one of many reasons I cited as to why I thought the income tax was a bad idea. If single municipalities continue using band-aids to ineffectively and unfairly respond to statewide problems, the state will continue putting off dealing with them. If that makes me a hypocrite, then so be it.

    See: http://www.milhs.org/Media/EDocs/StruDefCon03.pdf

    and

    http://crcmich.org/PUBLICAT/2000s/2009/sbn200901.html

  66. Posted September 13, 2009 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    While my other comment responding to Glen is “awaiting moderation” (which is kind of a funny way of saying that – none of my other comments have been made more moderate prior to publishing), what Jennifer said made me think of something else. I don’t know if you are the Jennifer who works at UofM, but if you are, you might be interested in knowing that the free rides UofM pays for are not credited to Ypsi. Yes, an Ypsi resident gets on the bus and goes to work or school at UofM, and the fare gets paid, but Ypsi isn’t acknowledged anywhere in this course of events. My understanding was that over 100,000 AATA rides get paid for by UofM, and Ypsi does not get a single credit for any of them.

    If AATA would fix whatever formula it uses to track fare contributions from riders, it would see a more realistic picture of where money comes from and goes to, and it might be able to deal with Ypsi in a more appropriate manner. Undoubtedly, if Ypsi were to be credited for fares its residents use going to and from UofM, AATA would have to agree that Ypsi’s subsidy has been artificially inflated and should be reduced.

    This is, in part, why I think the criticism of our elected officials is dead wrong. They absolutely must play hardball with AATA if any of these changes are to be made. If they blink and cave, AATA will continue taking advantage of us, manipulating us, and requiring us to pay more than our fair share (pardon the pun). By blaming our own City Council instead of AATA, we play right into AATA’s hands.

  67. Glen S.
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

    Trusty,

    At a recent City Council meeting, the question of whether Ypsilanti received “credit” for rides paid covered by programs like the federally-funded U-M ride program came up, and I’m fairly certain the answer was that we do. I don’t have the details of this handy at the moment, though, but I’ll try to get (and post) them a.s.a.p.

    In the mean time, I go back to my original question: Is City Council’s recent resolution directing AATA to cut Route #5 and to limit service on Routes # 10 and 11 a step forward (toward building support for a more equitable and sustainable, regional funding model); or a step backward (toward eroding our existing transit service and diminishing public support)?

    At a time when we need to be working harder than ever with local municipalities and institutions (and with AATA) to think more creatively about what we want public transit to look like in the future — and how we’re going to pay for it — I find your stance (above) be shockingly rigid and unnecessarily adversarial.

    While there is certainly room for legitimate disagreement over specific AATA policies and funding formulas, your use of such phrases as “absolutely must play hardball,” “if they blink and cave,” “AATA will continue taking advantage of us, manipulating us …” and “play right into AATA’s hands.” suggest that you think our best course of action is to treat AATA as a hardened adversary, rather than as a potential partner with whom we can, and should, be working to solve this problem.

    But, I have to ask: If pursuing this “adversarial” approach toward AATA means sacrificing the riders on Route #5, and cutting service for riders on Routes #10 and 11; or possibly even (as you suggested in an earlier post) cutting additional routes and/or raising fares … then even if we eventually “win,” what do we really gain?

    The current Council majority was elected, in large part, on a promise that there would be no cuts to core public services — including public transit. If they intend to keep that promise, then it seems to me they need to tone down the adversarial rhetoric, and begin focusing on building some regional support of a more sustainable vision.

  68. EOS
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 1:49 pm | Permalink

    Glen –

    Regional funding for city buses is in no way equitable. I applaud current council for taking steps to limit the bus service to what the residents can afford.

  69. Posted September 13, 2009 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Here’s the email from Murdock to council prior to the vote:

    Mayor and City Council Members –

    For several years now we have been wrestling with how best to fund public transportation in the City of Ypsilanti. Every year it gets harder and harder. While every major city service (police, fire, parks, streets, recreation, code enforcement, solid waste, planning and administration) has been cut due to declining revenues and increased costs, public transportation has been spared any cuts in service. This year we are facing another crisis of funding. We are using $900K to balance this year’s budget, a budget that now includes expenditures of over a million dollars to pay Water Street debt and related costs. Next year the City Manager projects an additional shortfall of $725K. On top of that AATA is increasing the price of service by 30% over the next three years. More cuts in services are probable.

    All of us on City Council recognize the importance of public transportation to citizens and how much it means to our economic, social and economic viability. We also know that the best most cost effective and reliable method of funding public transportation is through a regional system with its own dedicated source of funding and have advocated for it for years. Lacking that structure a City only dedicated source of funding would be desirable.

    Consequently, I am proposing the attached resolution for Council’s consideration tomorrow evening. If adopted this will stabilize the AATA situation for two fiscal years and provide a roadmap toward achieving a dedicated source of funding with or without a regional system. It does it with a combination of increases in City appropriations, minimal cuts in service and the use of stimulus dollars to get us through the City’s next two fiscal years – Until June 30, 2011.

    The elements of this plan are

    1.Enter into an extended 21 month agreement with AATA, from October 2009 thru June 2011 at the rate they proposed with no increase for the extended nine months.

    2. Approve service cuts of elimination of the Packard Rte (# 5) in the City of Ypsilanti (Option No 5A or 5B) and the reduction of service by one hour daily on the Ypsilanti Northeast (No 10) and Ypsilanti South (11) (Option No 10B) These would realize a savings of $64K annually and would be the least disruptive of the alternatives presented. Three routes would remain to AA including the # 3 to WCC and St Joe’s Hospital and all local routes would be maintained but with one less hour of daily service. These service reductions would go into effect in April 2010. This would be the earliest they could go into effect given AATA’s service change process.

    3. The city would budget its full share of the AATA contract for City FY 2010-11 or approximately $218K, an increase of $60,000 over FY 2009-10.

    4. The $ 117K funding shortage in the current fiscal Year would be made up with one quarter of service cuts ($16,000) and a request to use AATA stimulus dollars ($ 101,000) to make up the difference.
    AATA was awarded $6.1 million of stimulus of which 10% ($610K) can be used for operations. Stimulus funds were calculated based on existing formulas that included Ypsilanti population, ridership, service hours, etc in the calculations. So a case can be made that some portion of that is “Ypsilanti” money.

    5. If all that is accomplished it will stabilize AATA service and funding thru next fiscal year, at a slightly reduced level, and provide some breathing room for a serious effort at the development of the regional transit authority. Lacking any progress on the regional system, the City of Ypsilanti will place on the November 2010 ballot, a Headlee rollback proposal where the captured revenues (approximately .9 of a mil generating a little over $300,000) would be designated and restricted solely for public transportation.

    Thanks for your consideration.

    Pete

    ——————————————

    Glen, it sounds to me like our current council is maintaining this priority and coming up with viable solutions to fix this problem over the long term. I’m standing with them.

  70. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

    So, I was riding the #6 yesterday to do my weekly shopping, and I noticed a sign about Title VI, which has to do with discrimination based in public transportation based on race, gender, economic status, ect, and gave information on where to file a complaint. Then I looked around the bus. (this was on my return trip to Ypsi) Lots of ethnic minorities, women, and there were certainly poor folks, at least me, riding the bus. Service is being cut to areas of our city AND TOWNSHIP (that’s right folks, people in several townships use the bus, the 9 & 10 in Ypsi and Superior and the #5 in Pittsfield ) that contain large numbers of poor and minority riders. It seems to me that all of these people are being disadvantaged by this service reduction and should have a right to file a complaint under Title VI. People like to say that Ypsi is A2’s ghetto. And a ghetto is where the poor and minorities are housed. So let’s use that view of our city against the AATA and tell them they are violating the Title VI rights of thousands in Ypsilanti.

    Yes, I am aware that this is most likely not the intent of Title VI, and that many might consider such an action an abuse of it. I don’t really care. I would encourage those in Detroit, who have suffered a massive bus service cut, to do the same. Let’s get ugly. Let’s talk angrily. I’m willing to fight a little dirty when I have to in order to make good things happen in Ypsi, as well as all of our cities in Michigan. In case you haven’t noticed.

  71. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    EOS,
    Your equitable funding statements are exactly what I’m talking about here. People in Michigan are unwilling to see how they are affected by things outside out their immediate community. No one is isolated. Even if you don’t commute, don’t ever leave your house, you are affected by the pollution created by an increased number of cars on the road due to lack of public transit.

    I read someone’s comment that we don’t have the resources of a city the size of Boston or Chicago, and, because of our limited resources, we should have limited public transit, even if it does not meet transit needs. I would argue that the Detroit-Ann Arbor corridor has become more of a mega city, and is certainly populated nearly non-stop between the two cities. A metro region that needs a metro public transportation system. A region that needs public transit funded by all residents.

    Stop the sprawl. Build in. Work together. We have no choice if we want to fix our state.

  72. Glen S.
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 4:24 pm | Permalink

    Trusty,

    If Council Member Murdock believed that, given our circumstances, his plan (detailed above) was the best possible solution, then why couldn’t he have introduced it earlier — thereby giving plenty of time for public notice, as well as public review and comment?

    AATA made clear their intention to raise rates months ago, and, as I said in an earlier post, we have all known since at least June — when Council voted to fund only 56 percent of what AATA was requesting for 2010 — that this issue was looming.

    Council had all summer to address this discrepancy by either budgeting additional money or making cuts (or both) — which means there was also plenty of time to solicit public input from Ypsilanti voters about whether, and to what degree, they think public transit is a community priority.

    Instead, as Jennifer pointed out above, what we got a “surprise” proposal — introduced and passed with no notice, and no opportunity for public review or input.

    When running for office, several among our current Council majority were very vocal about their goal to bring more openness and “transparency” to decision-making at City Hall.

    Is there anyone who can honestly say (regardless of where they stand on the specifics of this issue) that introducing and passing a resolution likely to have such a major impact on our community — with no public notice, at a “special” meeting held on the day following a long-weekend, and with no opportunity for public review or comment — constitutes either openness or transparency?

  73. Posted September 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

    EoS has said before that he doesn’t like the buses because black people ride them.

  74. Mark H.
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Glen S. — do your criticisms of council for not having, in the months of June-July-August, come up with a response to AAATA budgt concerns apply to the Mayor, too, or just to those members who voted for Pete Murdock’s proposal?

    I think Murdock’s proposal is solid – deals with a real problem. The Nancy Reagan-esque “just say no to the AAATA” hardly amounts to planning.

    I note too, Glenn, that your reply to the posting of Pete’s email to fellow Council members — which is a detailed, thoughtful analysis of the problem and a recommendation of a way to move forward – is to ignore the substance of it, and to object solely to its timing. In politics, that’s called a dodge, and I think it’s intellectually dishonest.

    Indeed, Pete’s proposal is detailed and complex enough I’ll venture a wild idea: He worked on it over time. It’s not a sound-bite, it’s a proposal with content.

    I’ve not seen nor heard of any proposal with content from anyone else. Just saying no isn’t a negotiating position, and isn’t a plan. But it may well be campaign rhetoric, in the trial balloon format.

    I think you and the Mayor could do better than that, Glen.

  75. ypsineighbor
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    glen is paying politics, stinks like the state senate and house.

  76. Glen S.
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Mark H. ,

    Since he first took office, Mayor Schreiber has repeatedly stated that he thinks public transit is a key priority, and that we need to continue providing adequate funding to maintain current service levels — while we simultaneously work on developing a sustainable, regional solution for funding transit.

    Folks can agree or disagree with his position, but to suggest that he has not had a position is simply not true.

    Regarding the “timing” of Council Member Murdock’s resolution — and the fact that it was introduced and passed with no public notice and no opportunity for public input — you can say that’s just “politics” or “intellectually dishonest,” but if so … does that mean that all the other folks who have posted here expressing similar sentiments are, likewise, just “playing politics?”

    Like a lot of other folks who attended Tuesday’s meeting, I was shocked that a majority of City Council seemingly saw no problem with introducing and passing a resolution which had such potentially far-reaching implications for the community with no public notice or input.

    Let me be clear: This goes way beyond who I voted for (or didn’t) or who I support (or don’t) politically — this is about a fundamental belief Ypsilanti voters have a right to know when important matters of public policy are being discussed, as well as a right to have their say BEFORE such decisions get made.

  77. Trudatte
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    Brackinald,

    Why the sudden burst of commitment to staying within the current thread?

    You won’t support the tax because you won’t support any tax. As such, your comments are a meaningless contribution to the discussion.

    You are the sound of one hand clapping or one hand doing something at least.

  78. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Trudatte — Most people can see the difference between my arguing for no taxes at all and my arguing for not making outside communities pay for our region-specific transportation. I’m sorry for your difficulties.

    I am still the only one here who has offered his own money to help support the cut bus lines — which I do not even use. If everyone else here did the same and worked as I suggested to encourage others to do the same, we wouldn’t be having this discussion. How much are you willing to donate… I mean of your OWN money? It’s much easier to be generous with OTHER people’s money, isn’t it, oh caring, righteous person? Are you willing to donate anything? Put your money where your mouth is!!!

    If no one else is willing to donate anything, then by all means, try to get the county or state to fund it. I’m sure it will take top priority over Secretary of State operating hours and the State Fair. I will enjoy spending my spurned donations on something else (my meagre taxes still paying for the bus regardless) and watching your bad ideas fail.

    As such, may reality find you expecting it. I’m baking it a cake.

  79. Mark H.
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    Glen S. —

    Gotta be quick here, so some enumerated critiques of your latest, and, then my neighbor, I think I’ll bow out of further rounds in this exchange. Too much like a flamewar and too much like campaign positioning, and not enough of a real exchange of ideas & information….

    1. I notice you continue to dodge the substance of my questions to you, and more importantly the substance of the reasoning behind the council’s actions, as explained in Murdock’s detailed email to his fellow council members.

    2. It is misleading in the extreme to think council’s action is what is threatening services by AAATA.

    3. Yes, the Mayor has talked a lot about his devotion to protecting bus service. The Mayor is also a very, very nice person. But his record of performance is minimal. What’s he DONE about protecting bus service? Where’s his plan? What’ the mayor’s negotiating strategy toward AAATA? None can be found. But lots of rhetorical statements can be sound; please note I’ve not faulted Paul for not saying anything on this issue; I faulted him for not accomplishing anything on this issue and for having nothing of a real proposal. So don’t twist my words, please; Paul’s said a lot, and done little that’s real, on this issue.

    4. You write that, “Like a lot of other folks who attended Tuesday’s meeting, I was shocked that a majority of City Council seemingly saw no problem with introducing and passing a resolution which had such potentially far-reaching implications for the community with no public notice or input.” That anyone in Ypsi who pays attention was not aware that bus funding was up in the air is a laughable idea. You appear to be arguing about timing because your man, the Mayor, did virtually nothing on this all year, and then council acted, and you want to make council look bad. And what’s the immediate impact on bus service of the council’s resolution? Isn’t it….no immediate impact? But it most assuredly was urgent, has been urgent, to start negotiating with AAATA.

    Council is to be commended for dealing with tough choices, and not just blowing smoke.

  80. Glen S.
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 9:57 pm | Permalink

    CLARIFICATION: Earlier today, Trusty Getto suggested that Ypsilanti was being shortchanged by AATA on the basis of not getting “credit” for ridership resulting from federally-sponsored programs, such as the U-M faculty and staff program.

    TG said, in part: “you might be interested in knowing that the free rides UofM pays for are not credited to Ypsi. Yes, an Ypsi resident gets on the bus and goes to work or school at UofM, and the fare gets paid, but Ypsi isn’t acknowledged anywhere in this course of events. My understanding was that over 100,000 AATA rides get paid for by UofM, and Ypsi does not get a single credit for any of them.”

    I responded at the time that I thought the opposite was true, but promised to get back with more specific information. So, in the interest of clarification, here is a better explanation, directly from AATA:

    “UM does not purchase service, they pay fares for their riders. The fare they pay is higher than the average fare paid by people who purchase our 30-day pass. Ypsilanti is credited with the fares for all boardings in Ypsilanti, including those paid by UM. The UM agreement benefits Ypsilanti both by increasing the number of riders and fares, and by increasing the average fare.

  81. EOS
    Posted September 13, 2009 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Just in case anyone might be misled, I’ve never made any of the racist comments dude continually attributes to me.

  82. Posted September 14, 2009 at 4:50 am | Permalink

    1. You have said many times that public transportation is unnecessary and should be cut.

    2. You indicated once that you felt “unsafe” waiting for and riding the bus. .

    3. Many black people ride the bus.

    4. Thus, we can only assume that not only are you afraid of black people, you also would like to cut the only means of transport that some black people may have.

    It’s obvious what you are.

  83. EOS
    Posted September 14, 2009 at 6:00 am | Permalink

    dude,
    YOU LIE! (Do I need to apologize if this isn’t a joint session of Congress?)

    1. I don’t want to pay excessive amounts for mass transit in sparsely populated areas. I don’t want to pay for bus service in communities that I don’t live in or benefit from the bus service.

    2. I said I felt safer driving in my car at night than standing alone on a street corner hoping that the bus is on time. I’ve never felt unsafe riding a bus.

    3. The majority riding the bus are white.

    4. Your assumption is a fallacy.

    To everyone else – I apologize. Please don’t assume any lack of denial for future mudslinging by dude is an admittance of guilt.

  84. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 14, 2009 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Dude and EOS, I think you guys need a play station or wii so you can box or shoot at each other in some online death match.

    Really, nobody else wants to abuse article of public policy? Maybe a class action lawsuit under Title VI for the entire ridership of the 5, 9, and 10?

  85. Trudatte
    Posted September 14, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

    Jesus Fucking Mary Brackinald,

    I figured you to be full of puss, but your pussy footing around the simple question rivals the best of this site’s politsissians.

    Mary fucking Jesus you must need attention.

    Answer the question.

  86. Trudatte
    Posted September 14, 2009 at 9:26 pm | Permalink

    Quack. Quack. Redirect. Quack. Quack.

  87. Trudatte
    Posted September 14, 2009 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

    k wak

  88. Trudatte
    Posted September 14, 2009 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

    Tell me if tearing the skin.

    If I am, I’ll lick my thumb to keep it moist.

    I’ll use both hands up that thigh leg.

    Suits me.

    Little pinfeather.

    Really nice.

    The anus with the knife.

    Really clean.

    Nice.

    Bird.

    Breast.

    Skin.

    Neck.

    Fuzz.

    Make it wet.

    Get a shot off.

    Why not?

    Oooookay.

    Handful. Drag the thumb. Fingertips.

    Okay.

    Clean and drag.

    With my knife. drag the thumb.

    How far up the neck?

    Good to go.

    Plucked

    duck.

  89. dp in exile
    Posted September 14, 2009 at 10:03 pm | Permalink

    Why can’t fairs be raised on Ypsilanti routs to make-up for the shortage in City subsidy being eliminated. Has this possiblity been discussed?

  90. dp in exile
    Posted September 14, 2009 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    Damn it! I just made a stupid.

    Fares… Raise the cost, not the tent.

    I knew I should have kept my mouth shut on this one.

  91. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 14, 2009 at 10:53 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, drinking and blogging just don’t mix — especially on a hot, muggy summer day. Makes you say things and act in ways you regret.

  92. dragon
    Posted September 15, 2009 at 1:01 am | Permalink

    President McCain’s Transit Hit List:
    John McCain (R-AZ), a self-styled foe of what he labels wasteful government spending, has launched a broadside against transit projects in the U.S. DOT’s 2010 spending bill, which is slated for a vote this week in the upper chamber of Congress.
    McCain had proposed more than 20 amendments to the legislation as of Friday — all but one of them to prohibit fellow lawmakers from earmarking Federal Transit Administration aid for local transit systems.
    Even if McCain’s amendments fall short, as is likely, the U.S. DOT still could be blocked from spending money on clean transportation.
    On the hit list….
    ——–regional rail from Ann Arbor to Detroit .

    For 5 and a half years Jonh McCain wasn’t able to be an insufferable prick.

    Also likely to draw some local ire–
    Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-OK) seven proposed amendments to the 2010 bill include one that would “prohibit the use of funds for roadkill reduction programs, transportation museums, scenic beautification projects, or bike and pedestrian paths” .

  93. Oliva
    Posted September 15, 2009 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    Only tangentially related, but Coburn, who loves to remind everyone he’s also a doctor, was recently excoriating health care reform, saying, for example, that if an 85-year-old wants a colonoscopy, he or she should be able to get it (his claim was that under proposed plans it wouldn’t be available to someone “this old”).

    Just a few months ago my doctor told me that her mother’s doc had just told her mother that after 70 no one needs a colonoscopy, that the danger is between 50 and 70–and the discomfort or risks weren’t were whatever benefit. In light of recent discussions and exhortations and false claims, it’s interesting to see that in fact here is another example of rationing taking place now, prior to the passage of health care reform. Whether it’s actually supported by knowledge or is a cost-curbing measure, I really couldn’t say.

    It was heartening to see the poll published yesterday showing that a majority of U.S. doctors want a public option.

  94. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 15, 2009 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

    I just talked to someone riding the #5 from A2 to Ypsi, and she said there are about 50 people on the bus right this minute. But I’m sure all those folks will be ok without it. I mean, it’s only about half a mile or a mile walk from the homes and buisnesses along that route to the next closest one, right?

    We are going to have to come out fighting on a county wide millage if we want to get it passed. I would say that includes talking to fellow riders about voting every time you get on the bus, mabe even having voter registration on board. If we are going to have a prayer against the people who refuse to see how busses benifit our entire community, not just the cities.

    I do like how these township residents also refuse to admit that the bus system, especialy those routes that are being cut as well as the #6 and #3 service large areas of several townships, including Ypsi, Superior, and Pitsfield. Oh, and there’s the express service to Chelse that has been hugely popular, and now an express to Canton. But I’m sure that doesn’t benifit township residents at all, either.

  95. Brackinald Achery
    Posted September 15, 2009 at 6:45 pm | Permalink

    If they vote for it, good on ya.

  96. Posted September 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm | Permalink

    Is there any chance that the AATA might come back to the table and offer to cover the shortfall? I don’t know that there’s any truth to it, but I’ve heard before that quite a bit of their funding comes from grants, and that it’s the Ypsi ridership that gives them the demographics they need in order to be competitive. This might not be true, but it sounds plausible to me. And, if it is the case, you would think that the AATA would find a way of keeping the service at current levels.

  97. EOS
    Posted September 15, 2009 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

    Mark-

    I think that may be something that should be investigated more thoroughly. From a post on ArborUpdate:

    The buses cost $546,000 each, said Mary Stasiak, community relations manager for AATA. Of that, $221,000 for each bus came from a federal Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality grant and the rest came from regular federal bus replacement fund, Stasiak said.

    I doubt that they would be that successful in getting free buses from the Feds unless they claim to service the entire “metropolitan” area and the riders from the city of Ypsilanti are a significant portion of those numbers.

  98. EOS
    Posted September 15, 2009 at 9:13 pm | Permalink

    Andy –

    As you must have read on that other blog – Rt. 5 ridership primarily is generated from the segment of the route between Ellsworth/Platt and downtown AA . There’s still going to be Rt. 5 in Ann Arbor.

  99. Posted September 15, 2009 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    Mark said:
    “I’ve heard before that quite a bit of their funding comes from grants, and that it’s the Ypsi ridership that gives them the demographics they need in order to be competitive.”

    AATA gets federal and state funding for capital expenses like buses, but not for demographics. For 2010, AATA is charging the city $89 per service hour, which is 14% less than AATA’s full cost of $103 per service hour. The city of Ypsilanti 2010 purchase of service agreement (POSA) accounts for 20% of the $89 per service hour cost:

    Cit of Ypsilanti 2010 POSA Revenue Sources
    Rider Fare Revenue — 36%
    State funding ———- 30%
    Ypsilanti POSA ——– 20%
    Federal funding——– 14%
    —————————————–
    Total ——————— 100%

    Paul Schreiber
    734-277-5446

  100. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 16, 2009 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    EOS,
    I have a friend that depends on the #5 to get to work in A2 from Ypsi, mostly because the #4 takes longer, is already overcowded, and tends to run late due to Washtenaw traffic. While there may be more people riding the #5 in A2, that’s missleading, because it travels a longer distance through A2 than it does through Ypsi. The #5 is ridden by many people, especialy the employees and shoppers at the Kroger complex. Not only will the loss of the #5 in Ypsi leave all those folks along the route walking, but many will be riding the #4, making it’s overcrowding and lateness worse, causing loss of productivity for thousands of workers. I know that the distance between the 4,5, and 6 seems short when you drive it, but walking it isn’t quite as easy.

    Much like the cities and townships of our state, the bus routes are interconnected and depend on each other. Problems with one part start to wear on the resources of the rest.

  101. Posted September 16, 2009 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

    Andy,

    I frequently ride (and/or rack my bike, and ride) the #4 back and forth to downtown Ann Arbor, and I can tell you that by the time it reaches Carpenter Rd., it is almost always already “standing-room only.”

    I agree with your assessment that eliminating Route #5 will cause havoc for riders on #4 — perhaps even necessitating additional buses to handle the overflow — which given the circumstances, seems counter-intuitive and counter-productive.

    I also agree with you that, if we are going to make intelligent choices regarding our public transit options, we need to consider individual routes not as self-contained, and separable — but as part of a “network,” in which both “core” and “feeder” routes (along with other modes of transit, such as biking and walking) sustain a healthy transit mix.

    The next Ypsilanti Council meeting is scheduled for this Tuesday, September 22, at 7 p.m., and I encourage everyone who is concerned about the future of public transit in Ypsilanti to attend, and tell your elected officials how you feel.

  102. Posted September 16, 2009 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    See this announcement from Brian Robb about an AATA planning meeting tonight.

  103. Andy Ypsilanti
    Posted September 16, 2009 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    From Brian Robb

    I just received word at 10:25AM this morning that the previously scheduled previously cancelled AATA planning meeting is back on again for tonight at 6:30PM at the AATA Business Office located at 2700 South Industrial Highway in Ann Arbor.

    Keep in mind this is only a planning meeting, therefore no decisions will be made on service in Ypsilanti, but if you love busing, come out and show your solidarity.

  104. Joe
    Posted September 16, 2009 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    THANK YOU GLEN.

    FINALLY SOMEONE GETS IT.

    You can’t cut one route out of the system because they are A SYSTEM. They are all dependant on each other. Cutting the 5 will affect the 4 which could affect the 3 and 6. A doctor isn’t going to remove your elbow and expect you to keep the use of your hand. IT DOESN’T WORK LIKE THAT.

    This is why we must FULLY FUND the buses. If you cut anything, the whole system will malfunction. The council needs to look at new ways to fund this. The township is going to shorter work weeks. The city could do that. The council could cut their pay. The council could hire parttime police instead of fulltime ones. Eliminate the planning department and contract the work out. There are dozens of ways to do this. DO YOUR JOB COUNCIL. If selling water st. to Burger King keeps buses running, then sell it. FULLY FUND AND FULLY FUND NOW!

  105. Posted September 16, 2009 at 7:14 pm | Permalink

    The Ypsi Citizen is reporting the following on Facebook:

    “Brian Robb: AATA likely to use stimulus funds to cover deficit until July 2011 with no cuts to service. Story tomorrow. http://ypsiciti.com

  106. Pete Murdock
    Posted September 16, 2009 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

    The AATA Planning and Development Committee met tonight and is making a recommendation to the full AATA board that in essence adopts the plan put forth by the City Council Resolution. In addition they are recommending to use additional stimulus money so that NO CUTS IN SERVICE will have to be made through the life of the contract – June 2011.
    The full AATA Board needs to approve it.

    Now lets get ready for the Headlee Override election designated for public transportation in November 2010.

    Pete

One Trackback

  1. By It looks like the busses in Ypsi may keep rolling on September 16, 2009 at 8:22 pm

    […] how I told you a few days ago that Ypsilanti’s City Council had, as a cost savings measure, voted to trim bus service? Well, it looks now as though the AATA might be willing to cover our shortfall, so that service can […]

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