Letter: Laird wrong about counting bus riders

Published:

 

John Laird’s Dec. 11 column, “Amateur sleuths, myths and rivalries,” continues to deny that C-Tran is an inefficient system. But, outside of the central routes, many empty and near-empty buses wander the streets of Clark County desperately seeking those mythical riders.

His key statement was “Joe Blow (predisposed to hate C-Tran) spies an empty bus and automatically starts yammering about an inefficient transit system. C-Tran devotes great expertise and technology toward researching ridership statistics.” In reality, C-Tran’s “great expertise and technology” does not discover inefficiencies because, according to C-Tran, the data are not route specific. It’s aggregated data assigned rather subjectively to specific routes, with, it appears to me, a lot of Kentucky windage applied. Not a great, scientific method. First-hand observation and actual counting of real riders by route trumps this method for determining which routes are efficient and which are not.

Laird should read his own newspaper to get a more realistic count. I point to the last paragraph of the Dec. 28 story “C-tran’s bus gets stuck in fire station’s driveway,” which notes, “One passenger, a bicyclist, was on the bus at the time.” This is not an anomaly on many routes; it’s common.

I challenge Laird to a real-world ridership audit. We’ll ride buses together and count real passengers.

Paul Rollins

Vancouver