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(en) US, Common Action anarchist INTERSECTIONS, Vol. 2, Issue 1 - Taking Back Public Transportation By Alexandra Snapp

Date Sun, 07 Mar 2010 09:50:25 +0200


After two fare hikes in less than one year's time, Kitsap County residents have been more than outraged. Kitsap Transit has cut routes, raised costs, and shortened service hours to a minimum. Or, as Kitsap Transit's Service Development Director, John Clausen stated "We have gone through the operation and trimmed out as much of the low-producing service we can find. Now were getting in to areas that are political or pretty well used." -- This is the "spine" route method Kitsap Transit has created to reduce cost. Meaning it will cut or limit routes to outer laying areas of Kitsap County, leaving people in rural areas with limited or no transportation. Residences in larger cities such as Bremerton, Silverdale, Port Orchard, Poulsbo, and Bainbridge Island are also dealing with unreliable transportation that seems to be no longer in the public's interest.

Fare costs have risen from $1.25 to $1.50, then increased again to a total of $2.00. Two-hour transfers will be eliminated this December. Thus, unless you have an ORCA card, cash payers will have to pay every time they board a bus. This makes it even harder and more costly for Kitsap residents to use public transportation.

Route cuts extend far beyond just Sunday service. They cut Route 14 from Bremerton to Silverdale, a route that many rely on to get to work. Route 21 Perry Avenue and Route 29 Trenton Avenue were reduced to create a one hour loop. Saturday service has been trimmed down to an eight hour day. Access service has been reduced in Olalla and Burly to 2 trips per day. And five routes in Port Orchard were cut down to only 3 routes total.

Many people are wondering why they raised the cost and cut service at the same time. Where is the money going, and why are the people of Kitsap County suffering?

Frustration and resentment from the community is only going to grow in the coming months. When talking with people about this struggle we only see motivation and room to change Kitsap Transit's policies to best fit the community's needs.

To reach this goal we have created an informational pamphlet on recent route cuts and fare hikes and organized two community meetings. We put the word out everywhere from coffee shops to bus shelters, and we distributed pamphlets at transfer centers and ferry terminals. The meetings will give space for discussion on a community action plan and different types of strategies to use to demand our rights as riders.

Though this has been hard on the many residences of Kitsap County, it also brings an opportunity to unite people. Something as simple and necessary as personal mobility should not be limited or taken from anyone. It isn't a privilege, and should be provided for everyone when it is needed. Because of the current economic situation, people are relying more and more on Kitsap Transit to fulfill their duty as a transportation system. The people's needs are not being met and the community will make public transportation public again!

Resources:

Kitsap Transit http://www.kitsaptransit.org/

Kitsap Sun http://www.kitsapsun.org/
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