Things remain tight for local governments, which is why the bus service is in so much trouble.
There are a small number of people who genuinely need the service. But unfortunately, it is a small number.
The bus company says it has 20,000 riders a year, which comes out to about seven riders an hour for the bus. We've never actually seen seven people on the bus at one time, but that's what their numbers say.
They want roughly $20,000 more in subsidies from the city (which has turned them down), and the county (which almost certainly will turn them down).
But one of the commissioners, Al Hofer, offered a solution that has the virtue of making sense. He asked Treasure Valley Transit why it didn't raise its fares, from the current $1 to $2?
That, of course, doubles the costs for people who use the bus, and demographically the users probably don't have a Mercedes parked in their garage somewhere, so you can expect that would be a harder hit for most bus users than some people would think. When you're poor, a few dollars can make a huge difference in your weekly budget.
But, assuming the company's ridership numbers are accurate, that idea would raise the $20,000 in revenue the bus company says it needs to continue current operations (it is already planning a significant cutback in hours and routes because the public financing subsidies it has sought from the city aren't coming through).
The public trough can't always be the source of last resort. Sometimes, some of these companies that rely on public financing need to develop a business model that leans a little bit closer to the private sector concept that revenue needs to cover costs.
-- Kelly Everitt