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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Monterey Salinas Transit - The Plight of Public Transportation

Increases in Fares and Decreases in Services – MST's Plight Today

Apparently coming from a nearly affordable fare structure recently MST has started to be affected by gas prices and responded by increasing fares and decreasing services. Is this really the best approach or direction MST can go? And if not what is a better option?

Public Transportation has always been something I have been avid supporter of but recently I have become more and more disenfranchised with the current state of the public transportation system of MST which is the specific public transport system here in Salinas and Surrounding. This is coming from a student who attends a school that is about a two hour commute from my house. I have always used and counted on MST to get me where I needed to go at a price I could afford. Things certainly have changed, and not always for the best instead it seems they have changed for the worse with decreases in service and increases in fares. Though it also presents an example, of how influential gas prices can really be across all types of transportation systems, presenting the quandary that the only way to break from the grips of the Oil companies is to truly find an option that is separate from their system of control. The question is what and how? The options by first comparison seem to be few and far between yet there must be a better option whether it be reverting back to Organic Diesel or a type of Hybrid for the buses so that there is less reliance on gas but not a complete disconnection from it. The other challenge is to convert the current fleet of buses to an alternative with the minimal amount of cost. Of course easier said then done but at the very least the seed can be planted and allowed to ferment in people to understand more options about alternatives to the flawed gas system. Beyond that though such ideas need to be well researched and put into a business plan to be presented to the board of MST as a possible solution to their financial difficulties. The presentation on such a plan of change also needs to be well prepared for, so that it reaches the most amount of people who are affected by it including the students who attend the local colleges including, Hartnell, Cabrillo, CSUMB, MPC and others. The first step of course is to get enough of these students, riders and people to recognize there is a problem and that uniting together for a much needed change may be the answer to this particular situation we are in. To do that of course, like anything requires education, in informing the people of the reality of the problem and how it affects everyone. By the knowledge that it is affecting everyone more will realize the same thing I have come to understand from being a regular rider of the bus system between Salinas and Watsonville along with other students who make that same commute day by day can attest to how difficult it is to afford their education and the cost that is needed just to make the commute day by day. It can be said that I speak for all riders since anyone who uses alternative transportation is also very much affected. In an economy where many people still struggle it provides additional information to incite some type of change and improvement on the overall situation across the board in all things that affect us as a society. No matter the background of the people we are part of the same whole, we are all affected when the economy seems to tank or it appears as if we are being taken advantage of by a system we put ourselves in. With so many cars on the road, the result of so much commercial intervention in this sensory overloaded society.