Tuesday, March 25, 2014


At today's public hearing about the Metro fare increases, one of the questions I asked the Metro Representatives was if they rode the buses themselves.

They all had such cute, humorous stories.  Like the big-time Executive that picks a bus line to ride once or twice a month, because "it's my job".  One time, he thought he'd see if he could get off, get take-away food, and get back on.

"They just laughed at me," he said.  "Didn't even take me seriously.  But I was able to get on and off."

Of course, he didn't have to worry about paying the babysitter extra if the food was late and he missed the bus.  He didn't have to worry about his pass expiring and having to pay another $2 or $3 for another transfer. He didn't have to eat his food during the 20 minute (or more) wait for his next bus connection, or let it grow cold until he finally made it home.  It was all just for fun.

Another executive, Jessica Mefford-Miller, Chief of Planning and System Development, found my question offensive.  How dare I question her about her use of public transit?  How dare I suggest that Metro Executives should have to ride the transit that pays their salaries?! She finally confessed that for six years she rode the #90, about three times a week (6 boardings).  Then she moved to an area that is not served by public transportation. (She didn't say where that was.)

(I have a whole other post to write about Ms. Mefford-Miller.  If I had to pick a poster girl for the narrow-minded, self-congratulating, bureaucratic face of Metro, it would be her.  She does not listen, but waits to respond.  And when she talks, it is in carefully rehearsed marketing double-speak: a lot of words with little content.)

The last executive I asked this question of had ridden the train only a few times. I asked her if CEO Nations, who lives in Chesterfield, rode the bus to work?

"Of course he does!" She exclaimed. 

"So he rides the #91 to the Delmar Metrolink and then the train? Because that is a long, boring trip"
I didn't go into it, because she has never ridden the #91, but the route does a detour between Olive and Spoede and Olive and North Warson that takes more than 20 minutes, depending on the time of day and which direction you are travelling. 

Even without the detour, for the CEO of Metro to "Ride to Work" would take him close two hours.

"So how often does he do that?" I wondered.

"Well, not very often, of course," she said.  "The buses aren't convenient."

Realizing what she had said (the truth, instead of the platitudes and rehearsed marketing speeches spouted by her co-worker, Ms. Mefford-Miller), she tried to backtrack. 

"Well, I mean, it's not convenient to an important CEO, he can't take hours out of his day like that."

So I said, "But it is okay for customers, likely traveling to minimum or low paying jobs to make that trip?"

The buses aren't convenient for anyone.  The bus robs people of their time.  Just ask a Metro executive.

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