Study shows ‘expensive inadequacy’

To the editor:

A newly released study determined that Lorain County public transit runs too infrequently and serves too little of the county.

What a surprise! How much did the taxpayers provide to New York consulting firm WSP-USA to figure that out? The study’s proposals are a mish-mash of minor tweaks from experts who have never had to rely on an inadequate, outmoded system for their daily transport needs.

In 2016, Lorain County Transit provided 30,000 rides, using up its budget allocation of $1,464,157. That’s $48.80 per ride. The study recommends small changes to the current service with implementation costs estimated at $2.8 million. If those changes achieve a 50 percent increase in ridership, the per-ride cost will be $94.75. A miraculous ridership increase of 1,000 percent would still leave a per-ride cost of $12.92.

Uber drivers collect an average of $13.36 per trip. Eliminating LCT and simply reimbursing current users for equivalent but more convenient Uber trips would save over $1 million from the county budget.

Let’s think outside the WSP-USA consultants’ box. Can the county negotiate a deal with a ride hailing service? Uber would appreciate the good press for a partnership offering substantial improvements to Lorain County’s depressed economy. Public transportation can and should be timely, convenient, and serve the entire county.

The expensive commissioned study from WSP-USA offers expensive inadequacy. We may not be overpaid New York City consultants, but for no fee whatsoever, many county residents, myself included, would happily work with our commissioners to develop a serious and radical view of what public transportation beyond 2018 can and should be.

Rhys Price Jones