Today's story on the Big Blue Bus's fare restructuring proposal marks the fourth mention of transportation in the Daily Bruin this week. Nice!

New Big Blue Bus ad: "Chill/Work/Nap/Text". Photo by Juan Matute.

Kudos to Iris Chen, the writer, who did a good job finding non-student sources to quote in the story (Dave Karwaski of UCLA Transportation and Linda Gamberg of the Big Blue Bus).

I think she had a hard time finding someone to refute the validity of Dave's observation regarding the dire fiscal health of transit agencies throughout the state of California. This is what she came up with:

However, Andy Han, a first-year undeclared physical science student, rides the Big Blue Bus frequently and offers a different solution for the lack of funding for the Big Blue Bus.

"People who use the Big Blue Bus as transportation use it for leisure activities like going to Santa Monica," Han said.

Instead of raising rider fares, Han suggests cutting services, such as having fewer buses for one route.

"It would be better to just cut down on services because there's no time restraint for fun."

Never mind that the research has shown that a larger proportion of transit trips, these days, are taken for the commute to work or school [1]. But transit use varies by a variety of factors, such as gender, income, and race. Maybe that student was just being contrarian, but maybe that student saw many people like him on the bus (1st years, living in the dorms, without cars).

In any case, it's the Santa Monica City Council that is the governing body which decides on bus fare. They'll be making their decision next month. Stay tuned for the exact date; yours truly will live-blog the proceedings for Be A Green Commuter.

Note:

At its February 23, 2010 meeting, the Santa Monica City Council approved a bid from North America Bus Industries (NABI) to buy eight more low-floor Compressed Natural Gas buses (and an option to buy up to 58 more). The first eight buses will cost $5.1 million dollars.

[1]: Garrett, M. & Taylor, B. (1999). Reconsidering social equity in public transit. Berkeley Planning Journal (13), p. 6-27.

Related Posts:

2/4/2010: "Wrap-up: Big Blue Bus explains proposed fare hikes, presents bus stop redevelopment at annual community meeting; Bus riders ask amusing questions"