I urge all voters in Baker,Baton Rouge and Zachary to go to the polls and vote in the April election on the tax issue for CATS. The special interests groups are counting on a very low turnout in order to get this issue approved. Between now and election day each voter should make a special effort to count the passengers on every bus that they see. It is a rare sight to see over 1 or 2 passengers on the buses that run to Zachary and more often than not there are no riders. Recently I have been observing buses on Perkins, Florida and Airline highway and see them almost empty also. And they want to buy more Buses? It seems to me that eight- passenger vans would be more than adequate for many of the routes.
We are told that they will reform the service and make it better. Please go to the CATS web site at www.brcats.com and read the proposed reforms. They propose to create true accountability – by removing Metro Council oversight. To whom would they be accountable? They will “Adhere to and publicize concrete benchmarks and timeline of deliverables for service improvement”. That is Accountability? They propose to add 8 Express Routes. Seven of these limited stop routes terminate downtown. Is there really that much demand for transportation to the downtown area? Well, it is one way to divert much of the airport traffic to Downtown Hotels. CATS already operates A Trolley service that only serves a very small area along the river, route 16 called The Capital Park Shuttle, that runs mid morning till mid afternoon. This free shuttle is very convenient for the downtown lunch crowd. It covers an area that can be comfortably walked in a few minutes. Seems to me that this is one of several areas where CATS could economize but economy doesn’t seem to be in their vocabulary. Is CATS, like the Library Board, now getting into bed with the Downtown Development Commission?
Go to the website and read their ‘Comprehensive Transit Reform Information’. Will this make more people want to ride the bus. Actually you will get very little information here except that it will cost much more in taxes. More money does not mean better service.
We do not need to give control of more tax money to a special board that essentially operates with no accountability to the tax payers. We have a Metro Council to manage services such as CATS for the taxpayer and they can be held accountable. It is much more difficult to hold a board accountable. Look at the Library Board. Look at BREC.