Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Does anyone else have concerns with the City of Kingston Bus service? Well, the city's finance committee is considering raising the fee from $1 to $1.25 starting in January.  As far as getting through Kingston a great distance, either fare is cheap, however, the taxpayer is really paying for the service through employee costs, maintenance and fuel. Our tax dollars.
Federal dollars subsidize most of our city bus system through transportation grants. The operation continues so long as we comply with the stipulations associated with those federal dollars. Problem is, Kingston taxpayers are merely adding money to an underutilized service. Count the passengers when they drive by.

The dilemma: How much do we spend annually? Could we give the routes over to UCAT? What would we have to give back in penalties? and Where would we shift the employees? These questions have always been asked during the frantic budget season. No-one wants to address this issue earlier in the year for fear of actually changing the status quo. Perhaps it's time to at least consider ordering smaller buses when the next purchase cycle comes around.

Don't get me wrong. I have ridden on our CityBus. They are clean, easily accessible, fairly on time and still the cheapest ride across town. Our drivers are courteous and helpful as well. However, more times than not, it's a lonely ride. 
It may be time to look at smaller buses in the future if only for the fuel savings. With the mandate that municipalities must have bus service and the resistance of the County willing to take the routes, we may as well change the expense dynamic. 


Anonymous said...

I am amazed that we still have a bus system. I always see them sparsely occupied if at all and always wondered how that department keeps going. Now I know it was the missing cash in my wallet keeping them on the road.
You say it's a mandated service, can it be a private company with a city contract? If so, couldnt we sell the licence to some livery service and let them deal with the routes? No doubt they would use smaller buses the next day.

Anonymous said...

The City Bus shuold be merged with the County. That is a way of saving $$ for the City. The use of these buses is the bare minumum and the County could take ove rthis operation from the City.

Anonymous said...

For the Finance Committee to even bring such a small revenue enhancement to the table for discussion is ridiculous. To raise the regular rider fee to $1.25 and para-transit (special assistance to appointments) to $2 is shameful. All to increase revenue by $27,000. Amazing. There must be more ways to increase revenues in many departments. Go through the City budget department by department and see where additional revenues could be generated. IF the Finance members were fiscal managers, which I'd have to say, most are not, they would find other ways to cut expenses. Evaluate each route for ridership, redesign routes and yes, use smaller buses. But to nickle and dime the seniors and less fortunate for additional revenue is beyond comprehension. This is not the time to be finding ways to plug holes in the budget. I don't know how the members of Finance can look at themselves in the mirror. Shameful.

Anonymous said...

6:47 PM then you have to repay the federal funding.