In defense of favoring bus riders at the ferry terminal

The in basket: In the previous Road Warrior, we heard from Kitsap Transit Executive Director Richard Hayes about what rules govern private auto access to the Bremerton Transportation Center deck and what to expect in the future in that regard.
But he also provided a spirited defense of the limited access for able-bodied people, which many people consider oppressive and indefensible.
The out basket: Richard said, “What concerns me about the complaints regarding having to walk a few hundred yards in the rain” (which will be cut to about 50 yards once the new covered walkway leading away from the terminal is built) “is that bus patrons already make this sacrifice.


The in basket: In the previous Road Warrior, we heard from Kitsap Transit Executive Director Richard Hayes about what rules govern private auto access to the Bremerton Transportation Center deck and what to expect in the future in that regard.
But he also provided a spirited defense of the limited access for able-bodied people, which many people consider oppressive and indefensible.
The out basket: Richard said, “What concerns me about the complaints regarding having to walk a few hundred yards in the rain” (which will be cut to about 50 yards once the new covered walkway leading away from the terminal is built) “is that bus patrons already make this sacrifice.
“Bus patrons, on average, walk one-eight of a mile, and in many cases more than that, to reach the bus stop or park-and-ride lot where they start their trips. Sometimes those bus stops have shelters; sometimes they don’t.
“By the time they reach the BTC, our bus patrons have paid a higher price by far, in walking and exposure to the elements, than individuals who are dropped off on Second Street.
“Expecting our cars to deliver us to the very front stoop of our next destination is not fair to those who make the sacrifices necessary to ride the bus on a regular basis.
“If we allow relatively free access to a specific marked-off portion of the deck during non-peak hours, we are almost giving the advantage to car-drivers and their passengers because they do not actually have to pay to use the deck (as bus riders do).
“Bus riders pay between 50 cents and $1.25 per trip in part to reach the level of convenience the BTC deck affords transit users.
“An upcoming discussion with the Federal Transit Administration will concern whether we (should) charge other users a price equivalent to what bus riders pay for the convenience of using the deck.
“Transit and the Bremerton Police Department are not trying to be rigid about enforcement,” he continued. “The general practice has been to tell people to move along if they are not transporting (or waiting to pick up) someone elderly or disabled, but we readily allow age or any form of disability to sanction the access.
“It is my understanding that, frequently when people get tickets, it is because they became obnoxious with the officer or it is the second or third time that person has been on the deck and the officer recognized them. The policy of leniency is clear however, and well understood by both KT and BPD. This is a situation that I hope will improve considerably, especially off-peak, once the tunnel is done.”
He had this to say about an observation that if Seattle-Tacoma International Airport can allow cars and buses to mingle on its concourse, Kitsap Transit should be able to work out the same.
“I don’t think this is about pedestrian safety,” he said, “but rather the separation of private auto traffic from bus traffic and the relative priority or placement of these two types of traffic streams.
“As many have observed, Sea-Tac enforces strict separation between bus and general-purpose car traffic, and we agree with that. Where we disagree with is the airport’s relative priorities; favoring private auto traffic over bus traffic such that bus patrons must walk quite a bit further. This is bad public policy and certainly the Federal Transit Administration, which funded the BTC, supports our policy of giving priority to public transit services, equipment, and especially, patrons.
“Furthermore, Sea-Tac derives it income from landing fees and the Federal Aviation Administration, not the FTA, so Sea-Tac is free to express the priorities that support its pocketbook rather than a more public-policy point of view.”
(Next, Road Warrior continues on this subject. Can anyone make sense of the signs, or lack of them, that might inform drivers of the rules Richard described above?)

5 thoughts on “In defense of favoring bus riders at the ferry terminal

  1. I am a bus rider and thankful for the service that they provide. I think the cars should stay off period. It is hard enough to find each bus that I take let alone have to manuever around cars and potentially get hit by a car in the process.
    As for the signs, I see transit deck with bays marked as transit bus only.

  2. I agree that bus riders deserve preferential treatment at the ferry terminal. They paid for it.

    It is only common sense that the physically challenged would be allowed to get closer and cannot imagine such a person getting ticketed.

  3. Richard Hayes’ remarks about a “policy of leniency” toward people
    who drop off their loved ones at the transit deck is absolutely not
    borne out by my experience.
    Last summer my husband drove me up
    there because I was experiencing weakness and pain in my ankle (which has been injured several times), and had just received sudden bad news about the condition of a terminally ill friend in a Seattle hospital which necessitated me leaving for the ferry
    without adequate time to walk those several hundred yards slowly.
    My husband stopped the car to let me out, and was immediately
    swarmed on by police who asked no questions but wrote a ticket for
    $250.
    If that’s leniency, I’m a fairy princess (age 59). My husband was in no way “obnoxious” and was in fact given no opportunity to say anything at all. At the hearing the judge reduced the fine to $50.
    A final note: though no bus stops anywhere near my present home, I
    have ridden buses for decades and I’m very much pro public transit. But from the tone of Mr. Kitsap Transit’s remarks, it sounds to me like he has a punitive, even vindictive attitude toward anyone who isn’t paying bus fare.

  4. Maybe he is a bit defensive and on the offense knowing that no matter what he says he’ll be slammed for it.
    That would make me testy too, but, hopefully, not rude. We are all potential bus riders and should be treated with regard.

    My question as a pro bus rider and fan of public transportation:
    What does this comment mean?

    …”…”What concerns me about the complaints regarding having to walk a few hundred yards in the rain” (which will be cut to about 50 yards once the new covered walkway leading away from the terminal is built) “is that bus patrons already make this sacrifice….”

    In fact, bus riders don’t make a ‘sacrifice’ to ride the bus…they’re doing the smart thing, saving money and the strain of driving in heavy traffic.
    They are walking for exercise to get to the bus stop knowing they will be healthier for the walking and less stressed by leaving the driving to a professional driver.
    Keeping car exhaust toxins out of our air and less wear and tear on our highways are two more pluses. Bus riders are smart …not victims of ‘sacrifice.’

    That said, buses should have priority offloading space due to the fact buses carry more riders than individual cars and drivers, they take less space than a line of cars stop-and-go driving, slowly offloading passengers one by one.

  5. Richard has a bit of a rude awakening for reality. Although I am for fairness, I would like to think that all the taxes we pay help make the public transportation a convience to all that use it and the potential future users.
    If no tax dollars were used to build the BTC then I’m for the use by public transportation vehicles only. If any tax dollars were used then it should be accessible by all.
    If Richard thinks that the bus riders make a sacrifice, then he needs to wake up and smell the coffee. I’m sure he probably doesn’t take the bus to and from work.

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