Friday, July 24, 2009

My take on the BART Fiasco (rant)

I once thought this was one of the best transit agencies out there. It was the coolest. Not anymore. I am actually thinking about avoiding BART like the plague. Today it has been told that BART and the unions have until Thursday July 30th to come to terms, or layoffs will begin or a contract will be "Forced" on the workers.

This is unacceptable behavior, on Management AND the workers part. A story was posted on a San Francisco news station about how management lives luxurious lifestyles at work. Expensive meals and travel. Nearly 3 million in 8 years. Now one person left a comment that thats not bad out of 3200 workers. Except heres the problem, only management is reaping those benefits, 50-60 people. Also BART approved a $522 million project to connect the Oakland Airport with the Oakland Coliseum Station. A service currently provided by AirBart and AC Transit. I have ridden AC transit on this line, it wasn't busy, AirBart was never standing room only. So why are they spending that kind of money, When all they are trying to save is $300 million?

The employees are also getting out of control. I agree with many of the people that state the customer service skills could be better, don't get me wrong, there are some nice station agents, but a few I have had to encounter, give you the attitude like your bothering their day (Like some MAX Operators). Sure I dont know what they have been thru for the day, but that doesn't matter, if the public routinely angers you, this is not a position for you. None of the employees want to make sacrifices. No pay raise for 3 years. Big friggin whoop!!! LOTS of employees are facing pay CUTS, many have lost their jobs!! Are you living outside your means that you need a payraise in an economy that isn't supporting any? The employees need to tighten up their belt, if they don't like the pay freeze, they are free to quit, and find employment elsewhere that may better meet their needs.

Management, this is a sour subject for the whole country right now. Dorothy Dugger, BARTs General Manager makes over $400k a year plus bonuses and benefits. Fred Hansen Makes over $250k per year plus benefits. Are we so self absorbed that we must make this crazy sum of money?? This is a public agency after all!! The governor (of Oregon) and Mayor (of Portland) make about Hansens wage combined!!! A lot of people you see making this money drive fancy cars, live in REALLY nice places, and are more or less assholes to the rest of the world (I am not being specific here), Rude to others, drive like they own the road etc etc. You don't NEED these things. A manger should live nicely on $125k. Sure you cant buy a Bentley, but you can buy a decent car that will provide its purpose, going from A to B. Cant afford that top floor Penthouse? Or lavish mansion in NW? Oh well, you don't NEED it, find a nice house that will suit your NEEDS. And finally, lose the attitude. You are no better because you make more money. To further this point, they way these top paid employees spend the money only can relate to how they spend in life, look at Sam Adams. Stop spending the money on stupid projects (Oakland Connector) and start improving service.

TriMet is another story, have you seen the Milwauke Light Rail project? What a poorly planned project. It could be better off as a streetcar. FOREMOST, ALL MAX projects need to be halted until bus service is improved!!!!! No more spending money on rail cars or rail lines until all the buses over 12 years old are replaced, and bus service is restored to levels seen before the recession, if not improved with better service. MAX is useless without the bus, fix the bus, then we can talk about adding MAX.

Lastly, Like Seattle, all MAX projects should be put before the voters, like BART, all Board of Directors should be elected from the area to represent the citizens and their needs, and not Fred Hansens projects!

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