RT should collect all the fares
Re “RT plans to increase fares in July for buses, light rail” (Page 1A, Jan. 23): We rode Seattle’s Metro Link twice when we were visiting, and each time there were fare-checking officers going through the train. But in Sacramento, fare inspectors check 10 percent of riders to see if they have tickets or passes, and RT’s goal is to increase that figure to 20 percent.
Uh, wait, only 20 percent? I thought 25 percent of RT’s operating costs came from fares? Wow, just think, what if all RT passengers paid their fares?
The Metro Link cars were clean, and a sign listing “rider behavior rules” was posted prominently. We ride RT often and very seldom see fare inspectors, so the scofflaw fare evaders know that they aren’t likely to be issued citations. This hurts RT’s income. Sacramento can’t be compared to Seattle, but perhaps our RT management could go there to learn some techniques for improving fare collecting and its image.
Raise RT rates equitably
I understand the need for a 20 percent rate increase for RT, as we have not had one in many years. However, it is outrageous for RT to eliminate the monthly passes for disabled people, making their circumstances even more difficult. Subsidies from city and county governments should increase by a minimum of 15 percent in the current situation.
Having an accessible and dependable public transit system reduces government costs by lowering pollution, reducing road repair, and reducing traffic and parking. For more than 100 years, urban residents have benefited from public funding for the common good. I urge the transit board to more equitably raise needed revenues. We must consider the needs of our less fortunate residents.
Alice Ginosar, Carmichael
What will RT do with more money?
At the moment, there are no major problems with the transit system, and millions of residents rely on this public transportation. A 20 percent increase in fares would result in a loss of ridership, even if Regional Transit is able to improve the quality and quantity of its services. It would simply be too expensive for many. Furthermore, we live in a day and age where most teenagers and people are able to buy or rent cars, so this increase in fares won’t produce the results the RT desires.
State should focus on living wages
Re “Economic health a mixed bag” (Capitol & California, Dan Walters, Jan. 23): The idiom “the glass is half full or half empty” at the end of the column is the best description of California’s economy. The glass is half full in that we have made major strides to cut unemployment. The glass is half empty in that these strides have only cut so deep into the problem.
Dan Walters mentions that over half of the state’s employment growth is in the Bay Area. This is due to the ever-growing tech industry. It’s great that this employment growth occurred, but it only affects the middle to upper class. Employment growth must be spread across the spectrum of economic classes and state.
To see the glass as full, we need greater economic growth expanded, not centered on one area or group of people. We should focus on middle-income fields, those that Walters says are stagnant, and that provide living wages for people.
Jack Holzhauser, Sacramento
Death penalty goes down dark path
Re “Forum debates rules for single-drug executions” (Capitol & California, Jan. 23): There is a reason California paused the enactment of the death penalty, and it is because of complications. Yes, there are reasons for the death penalty, although when we take a step back and reflect on it, is it really worth it? I think not. The price of enforcing the death penalty is through the roof, and there are often problems.
It is appalling that the death penalty was compared to something that is often performed at veterinary offices. Humans are not animals, and the situation is dramatically different. It seems as though the government is trying to justify its actions that it does not necessarily want to deal with, and this is the best solution officials could come up with.
The state needs to focus its efforts toward larger problems, rather than an ongoing and controversial cycle that truly should be eliminated.
Allie Stewart, Sacramento
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