Vail Daily’s view: Dangerous to drop ‘drunk’ bus
Vail, CO Colorado
VAIL – Higher bus fares will be a strain for some Vail Valley riders of the county’s ECO Transit bus system.
Many employees who are the backbone of the county’s service, hospitality and construction industries – in other words, the people who keep our resort and real estate economy running – rely on buses to make a living. But though unfortunate, considering Summit County and Vail have free buses, a fare increase may be the only way the sys-tem as it is designed now can cope with with a steep drop in the sales tax revenues that keep our buses running.
A panel also has recommended cutting service to less populated areas like Dotsero and Minturn, and that also may be unfortunate but necessary. The full ECO Transit board will consider these and other proposals next week, and we think another one of the suggestions made by the com-mittee is not only sorely misguided but potential-ly dangerous.
The panel has recommended eliminating bus service after midnight. There are two reasons this is a very bad idea: late-shift workers who need to get home and late-night partiers who don’t want to drive drunk.
Not everyone in Vail and its surrounding com-munities works a 9-to-5 job – in fact, many of us don’t. Those of us who work in restaurants, bars and hotels often need rides home after midnight. Cutting late-night buses means not even giving those passengers the opportunity to cut deeper into their paychecks for a safe ride home.
We ask ECO, How are these hardworking locals going to get home? Taxis are not an option for peo-ple who survive on tips or minimum wage.
Politicians running for office and other govern-ment officials in Eagle County often talk constant-ly about the need to help the Vail Valley’s working class. Higher fares and no late-night buses will be two more nails in the coffin.
Speaking of coffins – there also are drunks who need to get home when the bars close at 2 a. m. This is a resort community where even the locals like to party, and we don’t want them on the road after they’ve been drink-ing in Vail Village or Edwards all night.
This is a serious safety issue. Revelers heading home should have the chance to pay $3 or $4 to get home instead of taking high-priced taxis or having to pay the awful cost of driving drunk. Others who are on the road late at night should be protected from those partyers who sadly, perhaps tragically, will get behind the wheel if there’s no bus.
Public safety is one of government’s key responsibilities.
The managers of the bus system should not cut late-night buses. If they have to raise fares for the post-midnight trips, they should, or they should figure out how to make the whole system free.
Free buses, of course, would require a sales tax hike. Then our community would have to ask itself if another 0.5 percent in sales taxes is a lesser price to pay than the grave cost of drunken-driving crashes.
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