About six weeks ago...the Metro here in DC (my subway and bus company)...came out to warn everyone of impending rises in the cost of tickets.
What they finally came to discuss...about three weeks ago...was no cuts in service and a 10-cent rise for about six months (more or less), then things would go back to normal. Everyone was fairly happy and willing to go along with this deal.
Today...we come to find out that this was not the final word on cost issues or a rise in daily tickets.
Here's the new deal...we will likely go from $1.20 which was the January rate...to $1.50 (a 30-cent rise). This is fairly hefty to most folks. A temp fix? Oh, I think we are past that point.
But hold on...we aren't finished with rising the rates. The airport shuttle...from $3.10 to $6.00. The bike locker fees? Going from $70 a year to $200 a year.
Oh, and there's a pretty fair hint that it's not a temporary thing...but a everlasting thing...with more likely to come in 2011.
So you'd sit there and wonder about some things. The Metro crew came out and said that $40 million of their 2010 shortfall could be fixed by a federal handout. Well...they admit that this was mostly an optimistic view, and really won't happen.
So where is the cost accelerator? Pensions and health care for it's employees. The Washington Examiner actually got them to admit it.
I sat there and thought of California and all its various problems. They will be bankrupt by summer unless the federal government steps in. Salary structure and pensions are what drove California to be virtually bankrupt.
Metro? At the current rate...I'm expecting one-way fairs to go from the $1.50 they hint of....to around $2.00 by the end of 2011. At that point, I'm better off to drive a vehicle to the Pentagon everyday...it'd actually be cheaper than Metro.
Here's the problem that occurs...why would you take Metro? You could see half of all current riders just give up. The issue starts to be...a giant system that requires hundreds of millions for salary, health care, and pensions...and they can't afford it. The whole Metro system....within five years...would likely collapse.