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Vail Daily letter: Raising bus fares an insult

Vail Daily
Vail, CO Colorado

To raise the ECO bus fares is an insult to those of us who live and work in Eagle County. It is the failure of the committee officials and board members to not be ahead of the curve during this economic downturn.

It is foolhardy to believe that this area is sheltered from the outside influences of the economic slump. True, many other areas of our country are struggling with their own budget shortfalls, but this shortfall in our community if the result of our governing body’s short-sightedness. It would be safe to say that our policy and decision-makers don’t take advantage of the ECO public transit system.

To have a council member quoted as saying low fares “almost enables businesses to keep paying low wages” is completely absurd. To believe that raising bus fares will in turn raise our hourly wages and place an even larger burden on our local business owners is a joke at best, especially at a time when business owners themselves are struggling to pay their own rising taxes.

Yes, it is time to use our reserve funds to fill in the gap of this shortfall for the remainder of this year rather than raise the price of a bus ride. Those funds were set aside for this specific purpose and time of need.

It is in our best benefit to use them now rather than further punishing the working class who uses public transportation. The proposals being made to the ECO Transit board aren’t solutions; they merely delay the inevitable.

Necessity being the mother of invention, our county officials and board members should be facilitating solutions with positive results, not a taxation of the underrepresented who already feel the burden of the widening income gap.

The solution of eliminating ineffective routes should have been enacted before this past winter season as we watched our housing market come to a screeching halt, thus leading up to this current budget shortfall with less taxes being collected.

I can remember seeing empty Vail-Beaver Creek buses running late into the night empty a countless number of times. That route is considered a premium route where riders pay a higher rate, just as those who use the Leadville route. If that doesn’t exacerbate the shortfall having a premium rate bus route with patrons, then why raise the fares now?

Why would you not charge more for other long distance routes such as Eagle, Gypsum, and Dotsero? Why are those of us who live in the outlying areas of Edwards and Minturn punished because our towns don’t have the free transit while Vail and Avon do?

– Jamie Suss


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