A message written by John Olsen that needs to be heard...
Clear DayGood Morning folks,
I have been out of town for two months during the transition to the new schedules and service changes for our transit system. I recognize the budget need to reduce service on selected routes, and to extend intervals between bus runs on weekends and late nights. Those are all pretty much "quantifiable" and can be determined in a linear and fair manner. I don't think anyone can quarrel much with that part of the plan.
What I am appalled at is the removal of many of the stops on most of the routes. That decision is unkind, not service oriented and complicates many people's lives while also putting them at physical risk. The climate in Spokane is just fine from April through May, and from September till the end of October. The other 8 months are viscious to those of us that spend time out of doors waiting for our nicely air conditioned and heated bus to arrive.
I am a regular bus rider, and am still quite physically and emotionally capable. A very high percentage of people that ride the bus with me are encumbered in some one way or another... grossly over weight, travelling with children, carrying two or three bags of groceries, without proper clothing for the weather, mentally ill, physically disabled, and on and on.... They are ALL uniformly grateful and thank the drivers for the rides they recieve.
Transportation is a peace and justice issue, that impacts many if not most of the people I am called to be with as a Christian. They are not being "served" well by the ludicrous increase in the distances between transit stops. Busses all run late because they are a "service" that includes stopping for up to four or five wheel chairs at one time... no on who rides the bus can or likely is on a tight time line.. Therefore "honing" time on routes by reducing the number of times the bus stops does not help any of my friends and community of other.
It is clear to me from talking to several of my regular drivers that they find the changes in stops not to be condusive to any increased efficiency, and have observed the increased hardships placed on the riders by having to walk, or wheelchair, or carry their groceries or kids an extra 200 yards up hill. On my ride this morning up Division there were two stops removed on the Division hill, so your choice is at Foothills Blvd... or Bridgeport.. feels like more than a half mile up hill to me.
I know the "process" whereby these changes in stops were made was open to comment, buy my friends don't write letters to the editor or blog or send email to folks like you. I am doing that in their stead, and am asking that before winter comes and someone dies falling down in the snow walking an extra 250 yards to their bus stop it be changed back.
Come ride the bus and see how it is...
I await your response.
John A. Olsen/ Volunteer Chef Shalom Ministries
Central Methodist Church
"When I give food to the poor they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food they call me a communist."
Brazilian Archbishop Dom Helder Camara