With gas prices hitting record levels, the callous answer from environmental activists is simple and probably correct: Take the bus if you can't afford it.
In Kansas City that's not so easy.
Consider . . .
According to research acknowledged by the KC ATA . . . Fear for safety prevents many people from using the public transit in Kansas City.
This research is always downplayed by transit officials but it has been an ongoing theme since the late 80s as great minds have tried & failed to get more people to take the bus.
Now . . .
FREE RIDES HAVE WORSENED FEARS THAT KANSAS CITY PUBLIC TRANSIT IS FILLED WITH DANGEROUS HOMELESS VAGRANTS!!!
Also . . .
KICK-ASS TKC READERS point out that bigger and better cities also confront "passenger difficulties" which dissuade more public transit riders.
A telling passage . . .
"Violent crimes on the system jumped 36% last year, according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority data. Aggravated assaults, rapes and even homicides rose for the second year in a row. Homeless people loitering on the subway have contributed to rising cases of harassment of riders and in some cases violence."
Here's how they're working to solve the problem . . .
"Grappling with the hundreds of homeless people who use the rail system for shelter and the increase in crime, Metro set aside $40 million for safety measures including adding elevator attendants for passengers, an emergency button for riders and uniformed personnel to respond to people with mental health emergencies."
It KCMO a solution isn't so costly or difficult . . .
CRITICS OF MAYOR Q'S "FREE RIDE" POLICY BELIEVE THAT REINSTATING NOMINAL FEES FOR THE BUS AND STREETCAR WOULD PROTECT RIDERS FROM FEAR OF RISING VIOLENCE ABOARD LOCAL PUBLIC TRANSIT!!!
There's still an opportunity to issue plenty of free rides via passes that could could be dependent on good behavior.
Again, this is another issue that'll get worse as temperatures heat up.
Still . . .
The topic of violence aboard Kansas City public transit isn't going away given that more people will be forced to ride the bus as private auto ownership becomes increasingly out of reach.
Sadly, our elected leaders seem unable to do anything but serve as mindless cheerleaders and ignore threats and legit complaints facing public transit passengers.
Developing . . .