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May 03, 2007

Comments

ZZMike

I doubt any city has competitive mass transit. There are some things that seem to work out naturally, monopolistically. 1st-class mail service, for one.

But since mail is competitive in some areas (package delivery, &c), maybe the concept of "getting people from here to there" could be competitive in some areaas.

In fact, it is. Already there are taxis. OK, one taxi company [?], but that's a start.

Suppose OCTA decided that they were willing to let somebody else haul the freight (as it were). How would that new company start? Could it bring in 1000 buses or so? - with drivers, mechanics, repair and maintenance facilities? Even if that, could it synchronize its routes and stops with OCTA's? (Given the thinness of OCTA's coverage, maybe that wouldn't be so hard.)

Let them go on strike - and face the wrath of folks like Fabio Nunez and Mario Obledo.

Go OCTA!

Jubal I so agree with you. Create some competition to the OCTA. Then these so called entitled union members will have more to complain about.

A thirteen percent salary increase in three years is nothing to complain about in today's standards. Most of corporate America would love to have a 13% increase in three years. In fact, I'll bet these bus drivers have a work-life balance where they work from 9 to 5. Unlike corporate America where they work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

These people are driving a bus for God's sakes, this is not rocket science. If the union members don't like it, then GET OFF THE BUS!

Preston L. Bannister

You have got to be kidding.

Do you really think a government agency would willingly give up a part of their fiefdom? They might have to give up some of their (tax) revenue stream. They might not be able to justify as big an administrative organization.

Not without ... "kicking and screaming" come to mind.

calwatch

The problem is OCTA manages taxicabs (through OCTAP) too. They set a flat fare ($2.65 for a flag drop and $2.50 per mile) to protect the interests of the cabbies. A true free market system would deregulate cabs completely such that cabbies could charge whatever they want (although I would set a maximum). Currently, cabs can't operate in jitney mode, picking up and dropping off individuals along a major street, or solicit individuals at bus stops. If OCTA wants to put its money where its mouth is, it would a) encourage all "permitting agencies" (cities and the County whom OCTA contracts with to administer its taxi program) to drop all "certificate of neccessity" requirements and permit all OCTAP licensed cabbies to operate anywhere within the limits, and b) permit cab operators to charge and advertise rates below the statutory set rate, and to permit routes where multiple individuals board and alight at different locations.

calwatch

The problem is OCTA manages taxicabs (through OCTAP) too. They set a flat fare ($2.65 for a flag drop and $2.50 per mile) to protect the interests of the cabbies. A true free market system would deregulate cabs completely such that cabbies could charge whatever they want (although I would set a maximum). Currently, cabs can't operate in jitney mode, picking up and dropping off individuals along a major street, or solicit individuals at bus stops. If OCTA wants to put its money where its mouth is, it would a) encourage all "permitting agencies" (cities and the County whom OCTA contracts with to administer its taxi program) to drop all "certificate of neccessity" requirements and permit all OCTAP licensed cabbies to operate anywhere within the limits, and b) permit cab operators to charge and advertise rates below the statutory set rate, and to permit routes where multiple individuals board and alight at different locations.

cold as ice

Most of corporate America would love to have a 13% increase in three years. In fact, I'll bet these bus drivers have a work-life balance where they work from 9 to 5. Unlike corporate America where they work from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Most in corporate America would spit on a 13% in three year contract. And if you think drivers work 9to5, then you have never used the bus to get to work. Corporate America works 7-7 ? since when? they work 24/7, if you call it work.

if bus drivers have it so great , what don't you become one?

I'm a Republican, and a new Bus Driver for OCTA so this may be long. While my opinions are not to be considered my speaking on behalf or OCTA or Local 952 I do have some personal thoughts.

OCTA moves tens of thousands of people per day with a safety record to be proud of. Before you call for something as reckless as private sector competition you should consider other public services we fund. For instance, no one questions our law enforcement services operating on a lost revenue model. It is a service that concerned citizens do not expect to generate a profit. As a return on our investment we demand professional performance and service. For that service we give a benefits package which commiserates that individuals contribution.

Your public transit system is no different, and no less improtant. Public transit takes single mothers to work, students to school, retired persons to the doctor, and so on. It provides a service which moves entire cities worth of people per day reducing road traffic. The persons behind the wheel of 40 to 60 feet of rolling bus are there for 8 to 10 hours per day. Having driven for private companies I can guarantee you do not want one anywhere near your loved ones. With private companies pay is low, benefits unfortunate (if at all), and quality of driver hit and miss. They could not operate at a profit if required to put new drivers through the selection and training process OCTA uses. A selection process by the way that helps ensure a better driver on the road with you. In addition route operations such as public transit at the size and scope of a county offer challenges. On time running, safety, equipment issues, these all come up daily. Most charter, or para-transit, companies can not compete or overcome these issues and be profitable. That means contracts may be sold off, unsafe drivers and equipment may be put on the road, and the next blog I'll be reading about on here is "Why cant the private companies give safe service for all that money we pay them".

My starting pay at OCTA is under 15 dollars per hour but the beneifts make up for it. If my wife werent pregnant with twins you would not be seeing me behind the wheel of a bus I can tell you that. I'd still be at Cal State Fullerton working on my degree full-time. Instead I searched for a job that would offer me good benefits, allow me to continue my education, and sort of pay the bills.

Do yourselves a long term a favor and support both OCTA and Local 952 when it comes to bus services. Remember you get what you pay for.

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