April 20th, 2018

This is economic restraint?

By Letter to the Editor on June 16, 2017.

It’s an accepted fact that every city bus passenger is subsidized by the city taxpayers. During the rough economic times the city is attempting to navigate, it is paramount that no new programs are introduced in any city department. Anyone with two eyes and a nose knew from the outset that the crosstown transit route was a waste of time and money. In most people’s minds, it was another city make-work project.

Let’s do the numbers. It costs $270,000 a year per bus to operate a city bus. This number was provided recently to the media by another Alberta municipality. Purchase price, labour and operating costs should be similar here. Therefore, the cost to operate that route for 18 months or 78 weeks was $405,000.

That’s $5,192 per week. Assuming the service ran seven days a week and 55 riders a week, that’s a cost of $94 per ride. Ticket price approximately $3 per ride. Cost to the taxpayer: $90 per ride. It was absolutely unconscionable for council to hoist that 18-month experimental route expense onto taxpayers at a time of rising tax rates for way too many years. Economic restraint be damned!

This council has a serious spending problem!

John MacLaren

Medicine Hat

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