Mass transit musings.

So I know there are a lot of folks who aren’t big fans of mass transit, but after using it, it’s actually something I heartily endorse.

The truck’s still down and will be till the end of the week, which would have left me stranded anywhere else. Fortunately, San Antonio has a pretty good mass transit system. That was good for me this morning, because I had to go a few places — spread out all over town. And if you’ve ridden in taxis you know they are definitely not good for crosstown trips. (I found that out the hard way last week. it was CRAZY expensive, yo.) Buses are slower for sure, but if you get out early enough you can make up for that. I caught the bus this morning just after 7:30, was at my destination on the south side about 8:30, and over on the near-northwest side about an hour after that. And it has one advantage over the truck right now, which is that I can haz music! (I still haven’t gotten the stereo in the truck replaced, and this morning I took the iPod on the bus.)

I do understand a lot of folks’ aversion to being forced onto the buses as opposed to having the choice to take the buses drive their personal vehicles, but damn, it’s good to know they’re there if you need them. Sort of like a gun…



3 Responses to “Mass transit musings.”

  1. Bob S. Says:

    I’m one of the people who have a problem with our current system of mass transit.

    Not the concept of mass transportation but the fact that the majority of the people who pay for it never will use it and don’t get to veto their money going toward it.

    Arlington, my home town, is the largest city in the country without mass transportation. We have “Handi – Ride” a program for transportation of those with disabilities. We have trolleys in the “Entertainment District” (6 Flags, Cowboys Stadium, Rangers Stadium, Hotels) We have a ride program for Senior Citizens but each election cycle we have to stave off those that want to use a slim majority of voters to impose their vision of mass transit on us.
    (Note none of the supporters actually start a program out of their own money though)

  2. southtexaspistolero Says:

    Not the concept of mass transportation but the fact that the majority of the people who pay for it never will use it and don’t get to veto their money going toward it.

    Yeah, that’s pretty much the long and short of it. I think that may well be one of the problems inherent to the concept due to the sheer numbers involved. Not everybody’s gonna use it. Not everybody’s gonna be able to use it; at least I don’t think they’d be able to. There are about 1.1 million people in San Antonio proper, and Bexar County has about 1.7 million overall. I’m pretty sure there VIA (the local mass transit agency) doesn’t have nearly enough buses to handle that many people every day. Sabra was telling me she thinks it’s self-supporting, but she did acknowledge she could be wrong. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was, though; according to a July story in the San Antonio Express-News, the agency collects only a 5/8-cent sales tax while other Texas cities collect a full penny.

    I suppose you could think of it as insurance of sorts, as well. Vehicle breaks down? Don’t have a ride ANYWHERE? Bus stop down the street, hey, you’re covered. (Hey, I’m trying to see the bright side here. Lol)

  3. Bob S. Says:


    Revenue for VIA is generated from the half-cent transit sales tax in VIA’s service area, the one-eighth-cent sales tax under the Advanced Transportation District, farebox revenues, bus advertising, and grant money from the Federal Transit Administration. VIA’s fiscal year begins October 1 and runs through the last day of September.

    According to the Financial statement, in 2010 the service had revenues of 24.39 Million and expenses of 152.03 Million — shortfall of 147.92 Million dollars.

    Pretty expensive insurance.

    I wonder if it wouldn’t be cheaper to buy the riders scooters and be done with it.

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