Wednesday, August 11th, 2021 --
Yesterday the Metropolitan Council released their preliminary findings from a survey they conducted of roughly 800 public transit customers. Unsurprisingly, the biggest issue people mentioned in the survey was safety. Of those questioned, just under a third of the respondents said they “felt safe,” another third said they were “neutral” on the safety questions, and a little more than a third said they didn't feel safe while riding a Metro Transit bus or train. The preliminary survey, conducted by the Citizens League and Twin Cities Innovation Alliance, also asked bus drivers, light rail operators, and other Metro Transit employees how they felt about safety on the job. Most of the front-line employees said they “feel unsafe” on the job and also said they “need greater access to police response and presence” and they are “anxious, concerned and disengaging.”
In response, Met Council Chairman Charlie Zelle said that safety was their number one priority to getting passengers back onto public transit. Again the Met council is asking the wrong questions. Instead of looking for ways to prop up the failed metro system, we should find ways to defund it. Projects like the Southwest Light Rail - which would connect Eden Prairie to Minneapolis - have already taken years longer than initially predicted, with daily setbacks from poor soil to bad weather conditions. Since Coronavirus hit, the ridership of the metro line has decreased, only recently gaining a small jump in ridership. They are about 45% from pre-pandemic levels. With no interest in using an obsolete train and now worries of your only safety, the Met Council had to do something. Their solution? Make the trains and buses only $1 to ride. The cost of riding has never been the issue, it's the need. People now work from home, and drive in their own vehicles. Public transportation is dying, and we need to stop wasting taxpayer money on a failed system. The market has spoken, now let the Met council hear your voice. It's time to end LRT construction.
State Representative, 31B
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