Traverse City Record-Eagle

Opinion

April 11, 2014

Editorial: Recent BATA changes put accountability first

The Bay Area Transportation Authority is undergoing some needed accountability changes that should improve service to some while rewarding others for playing by the rules. Public input over the next few weeks could further improve what the agency does.

A year ago the bus system, which is supported by a voter-approved millage on Grand Traverse and Leelanau county properties, trimmed so-called “loop” service to its farthest-reaching stops. BATA said the routes had low ridership and the change was intended to cut costs and make existing routes more time-efficient. Riders could still use BATA’s dial-a-ride system.

But public transit users wanted more consistency, and BATA has now extended its Glen Arbor, Suttons Bay and Kingsley loops to include early morning and late evening extensions to Empire, Northport and Fife Lake, respectively. The loop extensions are to start Monday.

While BATA deserves credit for restoring and expanding the service, the agency should also better explain why it made cuts in the first place. Saving money is important, but taxpayers have voted to support BATA over the years in order to provide transportation for those who need it, not just save money. Efficiency is a must; but service is why BATA exists at all.

BATA officials spoke with village and township boards for about a year to come up with a solution that provides options but keeps costs down and routes efficient.

BATA made another efficiency move recently; this one makes a lot more sense than simply limiting a needed service.

The agency implemented a new rule to temporarily suspended riders who fail to appear at a pre-arranged pickup for dial-a-ride service three times within four weeks. First-time offenders will be suspended for 30 days. Repeat offenders face suspensions of increasing lengths. Those riders can sill still utilize BATA’s fixed-route buses.

Text Only

Opinion Poll
AP Video
13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground Ohio State Marching Band Chief Fired After Probe Raw: Big Rig Stuck in Illinois Swamp