Castrigno: Don’t ‘de-prove’ the Summit Stage
April 6, 2013
Re: April 3 guest commentary, “Summit stage is in good shape.”
I agree with what the commissioners are saying about the condition of the bus fleet. In my experience as a rider, I have never been stranded on a bus, and have been only rarely asked to switch buses. Yes, the fleet is in good shape. To me, the bigger issues facing the Summit Stage are financial solvency and potential route modifications.
The first story printed in the Summit Daily discussed the possibility of the Summit Stage being privatized. I should hope this is considered as a last resort. Summit County taxpayers approved a dedicated funding source for the Summit Stage. We should be able to attract a skilled-enough director to operate the stage within budget.
My biggest concern about privatization is that any subcontractor will be operating with zero competition. Competition is what makes the free market function efficiently. With guaranteed revenue and no competition, what motivation does a private operator how to provide top-quality service? What motivation is there to reinvest revenue into the system? Certainly the private operator expects to take a profit. Is it really fair to taxpayers that a portion of their tax flows to the bottom line of a company based outside the county?
The second story printed in the Summit Daily discussed route modifications. The story indicated that town officials and other “stakeholders” were involved in the discussions. I would like to know what representation there is from Summit Stage riders. After all, the riders themselves are the biggest stakeholders, don’t you agree? If relocating stops to improve efficiency results in reduced ridership, what has been accomplished? The article mentioned moving the Main Street Frisco stop even farther east, away from the downtown core. That would be a “de-provement,” in my opinion. The article also mentioned similar changes at the county commons and at the high school, but no details were given. Again, it is the riders who know what makes using the Stage practical for them. How is their input being incorporated?
The Summit Stage is the cornerstone of transportation here in the county. A great number of locals and visitors alike rely on and benefit from the system. Certainly there are many complex issues involved with keeping the Summit Stage operating smoothly and within budget. Let’s keep the goals of providing effective transportation to the community and accountability to the taxpayers clearly in sight as these issues are being worked through. The transit board will meet at 8:15 a.m. on Wednesday, April 24 in the County Community Center. The meeting is open to the public.
Tom Castrigno, Frisco