The Austin Chronicle

Stop Waiving Fees

RECEIVED Tue., July 16, 2013

Dear Editor,
    It's long past time for special event transportation event fees to stop being waived [“Event Horizon,” News, July 12]. The city of Austin and partners (including Capital Metro) traditionally bypassed their chance to collect money from people who obviously have lots of expendable income on hand. Getting to Austin, Texas, from halfway around the world certainly isn't cheap.
    At this same time, elderly, low-income, and/or people with disabilities – the people with less economic resources – are being expected to accept a proposed fare increase. It would more than double the price of Capital Metro passes. These groups have less disposable income. We're the ones not able to attend the "special events." Residents get impacted when streets are blocked off or buses are constantly rerouted away from jobs and community resources such as health care and grocery stores. We can't always take another route on public transit.
    We should coordinate [Office of Special Events Manager] Frances Hargrove's permanent retirement. She has allowed the city's transit resources to get strained to today's breaking point. A remotely competent public administrator would have promptly advised Council that straining basic city services to the limit does not manage crowds nor bring in much needed transit revenue.
Robin Orlowski

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