Baltimore Development and City Hall are all on board to privatize the city transportation system and the Maryland Assembly is sending public funds to do it. Montgomery County has a new transit system all run by VEOLA and MARC is run by CSX. We know that tons of public transportation money will go into building the High-Speed rail that O'Malley signed on to. Meanwhile we are paying tolls on new roads collected by private contractors all making profits while labor is impoverished.
BALTIMORE CITY HALL AND MARYLAND ASSEMBLY IS SUPPORTING THIS.
SHAKE THE BUGS FROM THE RUG AND GET RID OF NEO-LIBERALS BY RUNNING AND VOTING FOR LABOR AND JUSTICE AT ALL LEVELS!
We are shouting for people to come to these meetings and write/complain as O'Malley and Maryland's neo-liberals privatize all of Maryland's public transportation. PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION WAS THE CROWNING DEMOCRATIZING PUBLIC POLICY OF 1900s.....why are people silent as they work to dismantle and hand public transportation to Wall Street?
Central Maryland Transportation Alliance
Come to one of the six (6) public workshops to learn about the Maryland Transit Administration Bus Network Improvement Project and provide your feedback. http://mta.maryland.gov/bnip Bus Network Improvement Project | Maryland Transit Administration mta.maryland.govWhat Is the Bus Network Improvement Project (BNIP)?BNIP (Bus Network Improvement Project) is a focused, 8-month project to develop a plan for updating and improving MTA's bus service. BNIP is a key component of a larger effort called the Transit Modernization Program (TMP) which is working to modern...
BNIP Workshops Come to one of the six (6) public workshops to learn about the study and provide your unique feedback. Download PDF of workshop schedule. You can find more information on BNIP workshop agenda and format here!
Date Time Location
Tuesday, October 15 12:00 pm- 2:00 pm State Center
201 W. Preston Street,
Baltimore, MD 21201
Wednesday, October 16 5:00 pm-7:00 pm Rosedale Branch
Baltimore County Public Library
6105 Kenwood Avenue
Rosedale, MD 21237
Saturday, October 19 12:00 pm- 2:00 pm North Point Branch
Baltimore County Public Library
1716 Merritt Blvd.
Baltimore, MD 21222
Monday, October 21 5:00 pm- 7:00 pm Towson Branch
Baltimore County Public Library
320 York Road
Baltimore, MD 21204
Wednesday, October 23 5:00 pm- 7:00 pm Edmondson Avenue Branch
Enoch Pratt Free Library
4330 Edmondson Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21229
Thursday, October 24 5:00 pm- 7:00 pm Brooklyn Park Branch
Anne Arundel County Public Library
1 East 11th Avenue
Brooklyn, MD 21225
In Maryland all of public transportation is being privatized, buses and all. VEOLA is the choice for buses, taxis, and BWI transit and CSX gets the MARC commuter rail. This is not good as we in Maryland know how quality of service goes down, labor becomes impoverished, and access declines when any service is privatized. The public pays all the costs of capital investments and operations while the business partner rolls in profits!
More public transit — except buses — on road to privatization Local transit agencies make their own decisions.
October 11, 2013 | By Eric Freedman - Capital News Service LANSING — Most public transit agencies across the country contract with private firms to provide some services and operations, a new federal study shows.
A survey by the General Accountability Office found that local agencies across the country are most likely to contract out for paratransit services for disabled riders, dial-a-ride and commuter rail service.
“Transit agencies most consistently cite reducing costs as a factor influencing their decision to contract,” said GAO, a nonpartisan investigatory arm of Congress. “Contracting can reduce costs because contractors’ work forces are more flexible, with more employees working in part-time positions, and lower insurance costs, among other things.”
Other common reasons are more efficiency, more flexibility and starting new services, it said.
Michigan has a long history of helping to fund public transit in every county, according to Clark Harder, executive director of the Michigan Public Transit Association. In counties without a local transit agency, the Department of Human Services or an Office for the Aging may arrange for services.
Transit agency contracting practices vary across Michigan, from small systems such as those in St. Joseph and Monroe counties to large ones such as those in Grand Rapids and Metro Detroit.
For example, the Detroit Department of Transportation and The Rapid in Grand Rapids rely on a combination of employees and contractors.
DDOT has always contracted out paratransit service for passengers with disabilities, and its Detroit MetroLift program works with four private contractors, according to Deputy Director Angelica Jones. “We didn’t have the staffing and the wheelchair lift vans.”
Jones said the department has no plans to contract out its fixed routes — buses, which account for the major part of its services.
In Grand Rapids, The Rapid has contracted for paratransit and demand-response services for many years, said Jennifer Kalczuk, the agency’s external relations manager. Employees provide bus services.
Monroe County uses a different hybrid model: Lake Erie Transportation Commission employees provide bus services, a private company provides management and the Suburban Mobility Authority for Regional Transportation, or SMART, owns the buses, said Lake Erie Transit general manager Mark Jagodzinski.
In contrast, SMART doesn’t contract out for any of its own fixed bus routes or small bus services, said Beth Gibbons, its marketing and communications manager. The agency serves Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties.
In the 1990s, SMART did contract out its fixed routes “but we brought it back in-house because we could do it cheaper,” Gibbons said. In addition, she cited concern about “quality of service because you don’t have the control.”
She also said SMART’s union contracts prohibit subcontracting existing work, so any future contracting out would be limited to new services.
The GAO findings are based on a survey of 637 transit agencies that file reports with the U.S. Department of Transportation. Of those, 463 agencies responded. GAO staff also interviewed transit officials, union leaders and representatives of citizen advisory groups.
“Transit agencies and contractors cited benefits and challenges to contracting, while labor unions primarily noted disadvantages — most notably, reduced wages and benefits and a potential decline in safety and service, among other issues,” the report said.
Challenges included the agencies’ loss of direct control of operations, it said, while contractors reported they could improve operational efficiency with the newest technologies, such as routing systems, and lower costs through more affordable insurance.
The GAO study comes at a time when Michigan’s state government, municipalities and school districts are increasingly looking to privatize services to save money.
For example, the Department of Corrections is hiring a Pennsylvania-based food contractor to provide meals to prisoners. The $145 million, three-year deal eliminates about 370 state government jobs. The Snyder administration estimates that the food service contract will save $12 million to $16 million annually, a claim that union leaders dispute.
In addition, a growing number of school districts have privatized nonacademic services such as cafeterias, bus transportation and janitorial services.
Sharon Edgar of the Michigan Department of Transportation’s Office of Passenger Transportation said she hasn’t seen increased use of outside contractors by local transit agencies, adding that MDOT has no policy that encourages or discourages the practice.
Local transit agencies make their own decisions, Edgar said.
We thank this writer of an opinion piece a few years ago as he saw the writing on the wall. What is important is that since he wrote this more and more privatization has occurred. The entire Montgomery County public transit is privatized with VEOLA and now more and more of Baltimore is as every upgrade comes with ties to a private partner. Toll roads are now serviced by private contractors.
The downside of privatizing public transportationApril 16, 2011In his commentary in the Baltimore Sun
("End the MTA Monopoly," April 14), Professor James Dorn of Towson University, and the Cato Foundation whose journal he edits, would have us privatize our public transportation. Dorn characterizes the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) as a monopoly, without mentioning the scores of private transportation providers (vans, shuttles, taxis, etc.), including the massive French multinational corporation Veolia, which already co-exist with the MTA right here in the Baltimore region. But, granting the MTA's preeminent position in our regional transportation picture, what are the implications of what Dorn's suggestion? What could this mean for the present and future transit- riding public?
For starters, as a private enterprise, it would greatly reduce any accountability of the operation to the people it is supposed to serve. Government regulation of such private enterprises is fraught with obstacles, loopholes, lack of transparency, and persistent opposition by business lobbyists.
For another thing, it would add the need to "grow the business bottom line" as a factor in providing service to the public when, in urban areas around the country, reality requires that public transportation be subsidized beyond mere reliance on the fare box.
Finally, and most tenuously, it would have us place our public trust in this private enterprise to pursue the public interest, not exactly what people go into business to do.
The track record is clear for public utilities such as transportation which have been privatized. The results have usually been less and costlier service, and less accessibility for those who depend on such services. Eventually, there has been business bankruptcy and abandonment of the services back to management by government.
Just after a time when our economy has almost imploded due to the abuses of unimpeded, under-regulated greed by private enterprise, it is a bit much to ask us to look to the private sector to solve our very real problems of adequate public transportation.
Art Cohen, Baltimore
PLEASE GET ENGAGED AND GO TO MEETINGS, PUBLIC FORUMS, AND PUBLIC COMMENT SITES. THEY WILL TAKE PUBLIC TRANSIT THAT ALLOWS PEOPLE TO MOVE ANY TIME AND MAKE IT ONLY ABOUT GETTING TO WORK.
If you are sick and tired of an unfunded, broken transit system the problem is just that-----it is unfunded. Privatizing is not better and in most cases it is worse!
Tuesday, October 1, 2013
Letting Elected Officials Know That Bus Riders Have a Voice!
Since the founding of the Bus Riders' Union in late 2011, many people were skeptical. They thought that bus riders like me don't vote, and that we weren't engaged in politics. Or they didn't think about us at all, ignoring transit issues during election time and ignoring bus terminals as voter engagement sites. We wanted to change that mindset. We started showing up to legislative hearings, to committee meetings, even to meetings with elected officials. And people started to hear our message, but some not loudly enough.
Today, we released a report that shows just how engaged bus riders are. Do bus riders vote? Well, yes. In our new report, called "Bus Riders Vote: A Report on Voter Engagement for Bus Riders", we showed that 55% voted in the past two years, and 58% plan to vote in the November 2013 elections. Not only do we vote, but 69% of us think that public transportation is a "very important" issue to us when we're deciding on a candidate.
Check out the full report online here and see our list of recommendations for elected officials, which includes recommending they: attend transit advisory committee meetings, speak to us at bus terminals, and ride the buses themselves! By doing these things, they will understand what we already know: many improvements need to be made to our bus system, from increasing County funding to repairing erroneous Metrocard machines.
Thank you for your support over the past few years, and read our report to learn more!
Bus Rider and Organizer with Long Island Jobs with Justice Posted by Long Island Jobs with Justice at 10:07 AM
What's driving privatization of public transit?
In Fairfield, officials have outsourced the city's public bus service to MV Transportation.
Michael Short/California Watch
As more cities turn to private companies to run public transit systems, our recent investigation shows that privatization may not be the silver bullet that cash-strapped municipalities were hoping for. We asked transit reporter Zusha Elinson to break it down for us. by Kelly Chen — March 7, 2013, 6:00 a.m.3
As more cities turn to private companies to run public transit systems, our recent investigation shows that privatization may not be the silver bullet that cash-strapped municipalities were hoping for.
In Fairfield, where the city’s suburban landscape makes it difficult to provide reliable and comprehensive bus service, local officials are finding it hard to hold its contractor, MV Transportation, accountable. Transit reporter Zusha Elinson found that “over a two-year period beginning in 2008, the company was fined 295 times for a total of $164,000” for late arrival times and drivers speeding, being out of uniform and using cellphones while driving.
Behind the fines, however, is a much larger ideological debate: Is privatization of certain industries like transit, which some traditionally consider to be public domain, a good thing?
We asked Elinson to break it down for us.
Q: Why are more cities turning to private companies to run their public transit systems?
A: Privatization started under (President Ronald) Reagan, who championed public-private partnerships in favor of smaller government. But the trend really accelerated during the (recent) recession because a lot of municipalities and transit agencies don’t have enough money to maintain these services. The one thing that outsourcing your public transit does is save money.
Across the country, very large cities are going this route: Austin recently outsourced all their bus services; New Orleans handed over its entire public transportation to a private company, including its management; Nassau County in Long Island did the same.
A lot of times these deals will be sold as saving the taxpayers this many millions of dollars. But looking at a couple of different situations in San Diego and New Orleans, the money being saved has been quite a bit less than advertised. That’s not to say they haven’t been saving money. Often they’ll tout savings that are quite far above than what is being saved.
Q: Who benefits? Who loses?
A: One of the biggest costs for public transit is labor. When they contract to private companies, they can winnow away labor costs by not offering pensions and cutting health benefits. So naturally, bus driver unions don’t like these arrangements because it means their wages and benefits will be cut.
For example, a few years ago in northern San Diego County when the North County Transit District brought in a private company, the starting wage for a bus driver went from $14 to $10.50 an hour. One general concern that comes with paying drivers less is safety – maybe you have more inexperienced drivers. This isn’t the case for every company, but it’s a concern.
Q: What does the case in Fairfield teach us?
A: Supposedly the benefit of doing this is that you have a contract with the company to make them do what you want. But the story in Fairfield shows that it’s not so. For example, in Fairfield, MV Transportation officials actually had quite a bit of political sway to squash efforts to keep them in line. So it was difficult, at least for (former) Transit Manager George Fink, to hold them accountable.
(Our investigation found that MV Transportation made a $10,000 campaign donation to then-City Councilman Chuck Timm in 2007. In 2009, Jon Monson, then the company’s board chairman, made $10,000 campaign donations to City Councilman John Mraz and City Councilwoman Catherine Moy.)
People can take lessons from this situation: You need to really take a look at which company you’re hiring and make sure they comply with the contract. Can people holding them accountable really do that? While many transit agencies are run very inefficiently and can be improved, you don’t have to worry about influencing politicians or people taking measures just for profit margins when the system is run by public agencies.
Q: Can this happen in big cities like San Francisco?
A: A leader of the Muni drivers union in San Francisco, a very strong union, laughed when I asked him that. He said no way. So, likely it wouldn’t come to a big city with a strong union presence, but it could be the fact that other large cities continue to do this. Maybe not SF, but some other big cities.
In the Bay Area, as we mention in our article, they’re considering contracting out some routes in southern Alameda County, where AC Transit has provided the bus service for many, many years. That’ll be a really big fight if that happens because the bus drivers union is quite strong in the East Bay. But I think it just shows the trend that even in the Bay Area, where the unions are really strong, this is even being considered.
Q: Does the public even know who runs its public transit system? Do riders feel the impact?
A: Transit officials tend to say that people don’t really know who’s running their bus lines, but I don’t think that’s actually true. In talking with people in Long Island, they were really wary of this situation in Nassau County. In fact, in Nassau County, where (nearly) everyone is a commuter to the city, their transit was outsourced to a big French company. For the first time ever, they formed the Long Island Bus Riders Union. It showed that bus riders were really concerned about what might happen. There’s always two sides to the story: The company says it saved a lot of money and provided services more efficiently. But at the same time, it cut service, which people are upset about.