Editor’s note: Thank you Nancy Ging for compiling this information, and the heads-up on important issues we want to keep in the forefront of the negotiations……..
Here is a simple analysis of the ridership numbers from Public Works 2007 through June 2010. See attached file.
A significant number of people started walking on (or car pooling) instead of taking their car after the last fare increase. However, the overall ridership was not affected. People made just as many trips to town overall.
This year, though, the poor economy, the uncertainty around the dock lease and the threat of even larger fare increases appears to have finally affected overall ridership. People are making nearly 6% fewer trips to town, especially by car. No revenue can be collected for trips not made, leaving fewer and fewer trips to bear the burden of the rising cost.
2010 fare revenue will also be skewed downward because drydock fell during peak visitor season. We won’t have revenue from those extra seasonal vehicle trips. We need to keep in mind, when Public Works fare proposals start coming out, that future summer revenues will be larger with normal drydock scheduling.
Overall, since 2007, vehicle traffic appears to be down about 17.5%. That should make Lummi Nation happy, since they wanted us to reduce road traffic.
It’s crucial, in my opinion, that parking be part of the contract currently being negotiated, as Carl Weimer pointed out months ago. We can’t afford to get into the helpless negotiating stance we’re in now when the parking lease expires. An expensive ferry dock lease with no parking available and woefully inadequate bus service is unthinkable. It would force people to take cars across, pushing people into the higher fare brackets (or off the Island, if they can’t afford car fares).
We also need more parking, not less, and it needs to be safer than it is. Since Lummi Nation is very focused on safety, perhaps they could help us with that problem?