Who's killing the Milwaukee County bus system? Not I, lies Scott Walker | Wis.Community

Who's killing the Milwaukee County bus system? Not I, lies Scott Walker

Milwaukee bus ridership declined 9% last year to the lowest level in 35 years, the Journal Sentinel reports:

Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker blamed the economy.

Pointing to high city unemployment, Walker said in a voice-mail message, "If people don't have jobs . . .  it makes it less likely that they're going to be riding the bus to and from work. . . .  We've maintained our routes, and our fares are compatible with other metro systems, and the bottom line is that you've got to get more people working."

David Riemer, Walker's opponent in 2004, said the system was in a death spiral, as service cuts and fare increases result in fewer riders, which hurts revenue, which causes Walker to cut more routes and raise fares again.

Walker is notorious for blaming all of his problems on someone else and never taking responsibility.

He doesn't believe in public transportation; he once said the solution to transportation problems is for everyone to drive a car. It is no accident that the bus system, which used to win awards as the best in the nation, has been in sharp decline since Walker took over.

Credit where it's due: The Journal Sentinel actually reported the facts that contradict Walker, something which rarely happens:

County officials have cut service, raised fares or both every year for 10 straight years. No service was cut for 2009, but weekly passes rose 3%, from $16 to $16.50, last year. For this year, the adult cash fare rose 12%, from $2 to $2.25; weekly passes increased 6%, from $16.50 to $17.50; three routes were scaled back; and the county eliminated telephone operators who helped callers figure out routes and schedules.

"People are not interested in riding a system that takes you nowhere," [City Council President Willie] Hines said. "(If riders) pay more for less service . . .  you might as well catch a cab."


March 8, 2010 - 12:34pm