In my opinion, the so-called transit workshop on Feb. 10 was a bust. The information presented was so basic and elementary that the audience quickly proved they knew more about the various transit systems than the consultant. The capper was when the consultant appeared to ask the audience what they would do. Huh?
One attendee asked just what was it that the consultant was supposed to do within his scope of work (no answer). Another asked why he wasn’t presenting something we didn’t know, like creative alternatives (no answer). Worse, the data presented by the consultant didn’t take into account that a significant number of the bus transit riders don’t pay because they are low income and ride for free (a free bus pass can be obtained at the Susi Q for those who qualify).
The consultant’s recommendation seemed to be scripted right out of City Hall’s current mentality; just raise fares on the bus transit system. Wow, that was original. Wonder who’s going to pay since many of the riders are low income?
I don’t know what’s in the consultant’s contractual scope of work, so perhaps their objective was to simply regurgitate the past, survey existing riders and blow smoke at us about costs. I didn’t note one itsy-bitsy idea “outside the box” to create a revitalized and successful transit system incorporating our mainline bus fleet, summer trolleys, Sally’s fund, and taxis.
Perhaps the city should actually listen to the residents for once. One of the consultant’s last slides was “we need your input,” which generated many good ideas from the attendees. However, this looks like one more transit study that will find its way to File 13 due to (1) a very poor scope of work written by the city; or (2) a very clever consultant who will milk the city for an expanded scope of work. If you like to bet, take option 2.
Victor Opincar, Laguna Beach