Published yesterday in the Chicago Red-Eye (“RedEye is Chicago’s free daily newspaper that provides a concise and authentic take on news, sports, entertainment and social buzz”) was a short article explaining the inevitable changes that are coming to the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) system. For those of you outside Chicago, the CTA covers the Bus and Rail systems here in the windy city. The rail system is the Chicago “L” (elevated) Train, the third largest rail mass transit system in the country, some sections of which have been around since 1892!! I’ve never taken the city buses around here but I’ve ridden the L many times, and I can truly say it is a fantastic way to get around the city.
However, this year there has been MUCH debate over the CTA budget and how Gov. Blagojevich has been handling the situation. Earlier in the year, Gov. Blagojevich proposed offering free rides to senior citizens (who already paid a reduced fare), veterans, and active military personnel. That’s all well and good, but it’s not exactly what most would call a “wise budget decision” considering the CTA was already having a huge budget problem. Obviously now, to cover the massive shortcoming in funding, the CTA is talking about raising fares and cutting jobs.
A fare hike by the CTA is looking more likely next year as the transit agency, hit hard by free rides for senior citizens and rising gas costs, announced $40 million in internal cuts to balance this year’s budget.
“A fare increase has to be on the table” in 2009, CTA chairman Carole Brown said Monday.
The free rides for nearly 100,000 senior citizens and others each day will cost the CTA at least $30 million this year and double that amount next year, according to projections based on soaring increases in non-paying riders.
I think the growing concern over this situation serves as a perfect example as to why government (city or federal) really shouldn’t be allowed to run ANYTHING that could be done by a private business such as healthcare (pay attention now Obama cult members).
Gov. Blagojevich, in his infinite wisdom, decided to offer free-rides to a metric shit-ton of people (didn’t know the metric system had such bad-ass units of measure, did you?). I won’t disagree that this is a very nice gesture and I’m sure he was trying to do some good, but I can’t in good conscience even consider that it was a SMART idea. Honestly, it was moronic. Seriously, you have a transit system that is going to come up short by $30 MILLION dollars, so you decide to give out FREE RIDES?! That’s like a private company taking a product that costs them $5 to make, and selling it for 3$. It’s just dooming you to failure.
So what do you do to make up for this deficit? Why, cut jobs and charge more to the people who are still paying a fare. Brilliant! Oh, and while we’re add it, let’s give out more free rides!
Furthermore, an executive order recently signed by Blagojevich extended the free rides to low-income disabled people. That could result in another 8 million free rides each year, the CTA said.
Read that again…8 MILLION free rides. The current fair for the L is $2. That’s $16 million (over a third of this year’s budget cuts) that the Governor just gave away. Not to mention that high gas prices are also having an effect on how many people ride the L each day. So instead of charging EVERYONE to ride the L like a normal business would (you don’t see businesses giving away its product to millions of seniors do you?), they decide they are going to charge paying customers MORE! So it’s now the paying customer’s responsibility to bear the cost of their own travel AND the travel of millions of people!!
Hmmm, this is starting to sound familiar…charge those who can afford to ride the L MORE so that people who have trouble affording it can ride for free. Kind of like how tons of liberals feel that we should charge the rich more in taxes so that the government can afford things like universal healthcare, alternative fuel subsidies, and throwing more money at public schools. Here’s another interesting aspect of providing free services to people…
The CTA provided almost 92,000 free rides each day in August to senior citizens, the highest total since Blagojevich mandated the change effective March 17. Previously, seniors paid reduced fares and took about 63,000 rides per day.
So offer more free services, and lo and behold, MORE people take advantage of it. Which then in turn results in HIGHER costs, which then are passed on to those actually paying for the services to begin with. If you haven’t figured it out yet, this parallels directly with Senator Obama’s proposed tax increases on the rich (those in the top 2% of income level) to pay for the services he wants to provide to the population. The math just DOESN’T WORK.
I’d like to add more, but frankly I think the situation speaks for itself. It just goes to show that by putting in a little bit of brainpower, you can easily see through Democratic bullshit. Everyone LOVES the government programs that liberals are always proposing and supporting, but no one really considers WHERE all the money to run these new programs is going to come from.