Friday, April 23, 2010
It's starting to feel like we could just put this blog on autopilot and re-post each entry from last year. It would still be about as accurate as a Metro "schedule." Metro's like a bad re-run.
Budget gaps, threatened service cuts, a parochial Board engaged in brinkmanship and lacking a regional perspective. It's sorta like the train operator threatening to offload a train. After a while, it just doesn't register. Crazy sucky seems normal. Perhaps, that's the whole point.
Remember last year when Metro faced a "$154 million" budget gap? Scary service cuts were floated, public hearings were held, there was outrage, Metro "listened," and in the end ... meh. It was all bark and not a whole lotta bite. Metro shifted things around and suddenly, most of those horrific service cuts just melted into nothing, just like rush hour "service" on the Red Line.
Yet there was a price to pay. There were a few service cuts, things did get worse, and they continue to. Oh, and there was that pesky dime fare increase "because of the economy."
Yeah, you can still see those stickers everywhere. Guess the plan is to pay Metro employees to carefully put the next fare increase sticker over each of the old ones. Better make 'em bigger to reflect the size of the increase. Pretty soon, you won't be able to traverse the FareGates because the phalanx of fare increase stickers. And seriously Metro, how about keeping with the '70s color scheme this time? No more '90s lime green and white, please.
Like last year, this year, we heard similar, but even scarier threats of service cuts in order to close a "$189 million" gap. But lo and behold, that ol' Metro magic appears to have found a way to make it not so bad.
Yet again, there will probably be some cuts, there'll definitely be a fare increase (because "you" begged for it.), and the service will likely get even worse.
Instead of making big boy decisions, the highly political Metro Board seems to prefer a death by 1,000 cuts, all the while praying for the white knight of increased jurisdictional funding (or a gas tax) to suddenly appear. The whole thing feels like this.
Prediction: Next year, there'll be another "crisis." There'll be an uproar, maybe even a petition. Public hearings will be held, Metro will say they listened and, in the end, Metro will sink to a lower level in the transit death spiral and we'll all shrug.
Doors closing. Ding dong.
Posted by Unsuck DC Metro at 8:01 AM