Bus Schedules Are RacistPosted: September 23, 2011
Yes, you read that right. Bus schedules are “racist.”
Or we could just say that the creator of that claim isn’t all the way inside the bus, if you know what I mean.
The other day, I was riding Route 120EB between Huntington TC and 22nd Ave TC, with a 3/4 load. Before we’d left Huntington, there was a rider (a pretty regular rider at that) who was having a conversation with the bus operator about the recent changes to the schedules. In particular, the rider was telling the bus operator how the major changes to the schedules of the Pasco local routes was a sign of BFT’s racism against “colored” people. (This rider is Hispanic.) Apparently there were a few other people were listening to this conversation, as the bus became rather quiet at that point. The bus operator took that opportunity to escape back to his seat, where he didn’t have to keep chatting with the guy. In normal circumstances, I’ll usually interject myself in a discussion when it pertains to stuff about BFT, though there have been exceptions. This was one of them. I have talked to the guy once before, trying to help him find out about Taxi Feeder, and that got me nowhere.
Later on in the day, I started thinking about what that guy said, and just how far off-base his comment was. Pasco, a city of 59,781 people, is home to the biggest population of Hispanics in the Columbia Basin region, with some 33,000+ people. The city as a whole has a median household income of $34,540, with a per-capita income of $13,404. Only Benton City has a lower median household income ($33,636), while Pasco’s per-captia income is the lowest in the entire Tri-Cities region. Since low-income areas tend to have the highest demand for transit service, Ben Franklin Transit responds to that demand with 6 local routes and 3 intercity routes that serve Pasco. When comparing the schedules from per-Fall Service Change and post-Fall Service Change, as well as accounting for the shifting of pull times at 22nd Ave TC from :15/:45 to :00/:30, the ONLY cutback is the deletion of the 6:15 departure for Route 67 on Saturdays. In fact, service has been increased from the creation of the Route 66/67 Loop. Otherwise, Pasco has not lost any service. Personally, BFT would be pretty stupid to try and cut any Pasco service since they generate the most bus riders in the whole system.
I have nothing against opinion. What I have a problem with is ill-informed opinion that have no basis of fact. This particular bus rider would be best off taking a little time to really look into this, though the chances of it actually happening are slim-to-none.