These increases are shocking (an “average fare adjustment of 25 percent”), and couldn’t come at a worse time for (what’s left of) the blue collar working public that’s dependent on public transportation. $4+/gallon gas already forces many to the bus, but apparently not enough of us as the Agency complains:
OCTA’s farebox revenues decreased from $54.6 million in fiscal year (FY) 2008-09 to $50.6 million in FY 2011-12. At the same time, operating costs rose from $98.01 per revenue hour in FY 2008-09 to $108.34 per revenue hour in FY 2011-12
So, bend over, here it comes again. This same Agency that just weeks ago made a ludicrous proposal to convert existing, already taxed and paid for, lanes on the 405 freeway into TOLL lanes, can’t break even on running something as simple as a bus system. They cut routes and still lost money. But the funds existed to support a bloated staff that can socialize the freeway system by trying to charge us for what was built for our FREE use and fund it with Measure M money that was never meant or said to be used for toll lanes.
This was social engineering gone mad, and it wasn’t the job of this Napolean and his over-paid band on civil engineers and liberal arts graduates to concoct.
OCTA’s CEO, Will Kempton, pulls downs $376,211 in “total annual compensation” per an OC Weekly blog post from last year. Kempton is #2 on a “state-compiled list of top executive salaries from California special districts”. This former Caltrans leader is a bust. For his extraordinary salary and benefits, he’s failed to clean up a bloated, tax-sucking bureaucracy. Kempton needs to pay for the resources he’s wasted on toll lanes, and his neglect for Job One — the bus system. He needs to resign or be fired, if for no other reason than simply being an idiot. Then it’s time for more house cleaning — consider that many of the folks who tried to sell us the CenterLine light rail are still working under Kempton as well. These outrageous fare increases might be offset by some staff departures and a severe paring down of this poorly managed bureaucracy. It’s not rocket science, it’s just buses. Whatever else they’re selling, we’ve proven we don’t need.
The OCTA has public meetings on the fare increases scheduled in the weeks ahead per the first link above. If you’re tired of being gouged for the costly and limited service produced by Kempton’s leadership, you might stop by and raise some hell. The OCTA Board also needs to hear directly from us, especially each County Supervisor who sits on it.