Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Mayor to Hold Regional Meeting on Light Rail

The mayors from KC, Raytown, and Riverside are expected to announce that they will hold a meeting on regional light rail on May 30th.

“An excellent transit system can help every town in the metropolitan area,” Mayor Funkhouser said. “But we need to work together as a region to make it happen.”

Meanwhile, we have yet to be contacted by the city about our own mass public transit plan. Yes, we have our own plan. We wouldn't be the Kansas Citian if we did think we could do it better.

Forget light rail, forget buses, start thinking cabs!

Did they just say cabs?

Yes, we did. For the exact same cost as the KCATA's annual budget, the ATA could scrap the bus system altogether and fund the new KC Regional Independent Superior Cabs Service, or as we like to call it KC RISCS.

Today, the KCATA enjoys an annual budget of just over $60 million per year. With that they employ 800 workers and run 300 buses carrying 14 million riders along their 65 routes.

For that same budget KCRISCS could fully fund 1100 independently owned cabs. These cabs would be free to pick up riders anywhere and drop them anywhere. Direct service, something the buses or light rail can't match.

Plus, KCRISCS would employ 1100 people as opposed to just 800 employed by the ATA. Each of these 1100 cabbies would receive an annual grant of $60,000. In addition, they would be paid $1,500 more to cover gas expenses for the year. Finally, they would be allowed to charges riders a simple fare of $1.50 per rider per destination. If the cab averages 35 riders per day, this will add additional revenue of $19,110 per year.

Of course, we won't be able to sustain the 35 riders per day/14 million per year unless we can be sure the cabs can hold more than two or three riders. Thus, cabbies joining the program will be expected to drive minivans capable of holding 6 or more riders. of course we would encourage cabbies to use diesel or hybrid technologies so the cabs are both fuel efficient and environmentally friendly. The more than $80,000 each cab will take in over the year will be more than enough to cover the costs of this vehicle and his or her health care and individual retirement accounts, while leaving them a substantial income.

The benefits are enormous. Riders would no longer be restricted to inconvenient routes and long waits for the bus. Current bus terminals could be converted to cab stops where cabs could wait for riders that are used to the bus routes or for calls to be deployed to a specific address for pickup. Also, phones could be installed at these bus stops to call for cabs if none are waiting.

In addition to improved convenience, the cabs would save time. They could take riders directly to their destination and not have to make 15 stops along the way. Even more time could be saved by converting a single lane along the interstates to the express KCRISCS lane.

But alas, until our ideas are recognized by the city we will all be forever condemned to inefficient and expensive mass transit plans.

1 comment:

Dustin said...

They should consider your idea, imo.