Alexandria Letter: Who Pays For Free Rides?

Alexandria Letter: Who Pays For Free Rides?

Letter to the Editor

To the Editor:

Why is our city planning to provide free and expanded bus transportation to some commuters during the July surges when some Metro lines will be shut down? Why isn’t this cost the commuters’ and Metro’s responsibility? At the very least, the city should charge Metro a fair rental fee for this obviously costly additional service, and DASH and Metroway riders should continue to pay their current fares.

Commuters are expected to pay for their transportation service, but under this plan, some will get a free ride (literally) while the rest of the city’s taxpayers, including those who also must pay their own transportation costs during the same period, provide the “treat.” Citizens who cannot use Metro, DASH and Metroway have long subsidized these services heavily and should not be asked to contribute more.

This clearly inequitable treatment of citizens is bad enough, but in a city saddled with an enormous debt, and facing daunting capital costs for essential needs and with recent alarmingly high tax increases to fund them, city officials are displaying profligacy if they persist in implementing this “free for all” plan.

How much have city officials budgeted for these “free rides”? Is there a cap on the amount? This should be part of the public information released with other aspects of the plan.

Ellen Latane Tabb