Bus rides aren’t exactly free

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By The Staff

Dear Editor,

Currently, the bus rides do not require fares, but they are not “free.” Somewhere, we all know that taxes, in some form, are supporting the bus system.

My view is that those who ride should support their public transportation to a greater degree than those who do not ride, and the fare should be reasonable, not zero.

From White Rock, it is a 20-mile roundtrip to the hospital, or the county offices. This costs me approximately $4 in fuel, per trip. If I add in all the costs of maintenance, depreciation and insurance, the total cost is closer to $11, per trip. The extra $7 is hidden from daily view since it is not paid - per trip. Depreciation and insurance can be considered the price of vehicle ownership.

People who commute to work will benefit the most from the bus system.

The rest of us may use it less frequently. I would propose that a fare be established, after six months to a year of experience, that at least covers the cost of the fuel. This is a simple calculation: fuel bills divided by the number of riders. If this seems unreasonably low, add in another fraction of the cost, such as personnel salaries. Then, perhaps taxes should cover the remaining costs – the price of county ownership.

To me, a $4 roundtrip seems quite reasonable, when compared to the price of a Starbucks coffee.

Also, a regular accounting, such as is now done with the water testing, showing costs, numbers of passengers, receipts and tax support, would be appropriate.

Jon Hicks

White Rock