Bus ridership is growing in Sioux Falls. It's not hard to understand if you look at the people waiting at the bus stops and and at the downtown terminal. In the long term, the increase in riders could reflect a growing dependence on public transportation, Mayor Mike Huether said. That's exactly right, mayor.
A growing dependence on public transportation is reflective of our times when money is scarce, expenses are going up and choices have to be made whether one can afford a car, gas and maintenance or whether that money goes for rent and food instead. It is not surprising to understand the demographics of the ridership of transit - the working poor, the elderly, the disabled, the unemployed, the people who have less money to make ends meet.
Kudos to city staff who are looking at ways to be more efficient when they have less money to work with by revamping routes and looking to maximize shorter route times while maintaining ridership satisfaction.
It is concerning that Sioux Area Metro might be faced with a loss of federal money because the transit service is a necessity in this community. Transit services have always required an additional subsidy in which to operate. It has never operated in the black.With that necessary public service comes very strong economic concerns on how to pay for transit services for the citizens in our community who need to get to their doctor, their low paying job, go to the grocery store when they don't have any other means of transportation. "Public transportation is going to be a central need for our future. Who knows where that's going?", the mayor said. Exactly!
"It's dang expensive," Huether said of public transportation, and "the federal government has been a major investor in the past." Right on again mayor, another financial concern out there on the horizon and yet we continue to push this community to a 22 year debt on the 2nd penny sales tax and a possible drain on the general fund which is financed by property tax and the 1st penny sales tax if the revenue projections and private money doesn't come to fruition.
Funding the basic services of local government is dang expensive and who knows where it's going to come from in the future.