Government: Where Popular Services Are a Problem
Here’s an excellent indication that something is askew in our way of government operation:
Charles Odimgbe, chief executive officer of RIPTA, said he was aware of the problem [of insufficient beach-bound buses] but that his hands are tied.
“We have a deficit of $4.6 million,” Odimgbe said. “I do understand there are way too many people wanting to go to the beach. But the riders need to understand about the funding constraints we are going through.”
Odimgbe said reserve buses would cost money. “I don’t see how we could compound our deficit by adding more service,” he said.
“It’s a beautiful day, sunny. People want to get to the beach, I understand that,” he said. “But this is about all we can afford.”
So, a government agency offers a service with predictably high demand, but since it loses money with every person who uses the service, it must ration it to stay within budget. Perhaps RIPTA should partner with a private company that is able to charge able-bodied, employed people for their charter to the shore.
The article mentions a federal grant that “reimburses” RIPTA for offering free bus rides on days of poor air quality but doesn’t explain why that wouldn’t apply to reserve buses. Readers can only guess why it is better to leave people standing at the curb for hours on such days than to charge them for the bus ride for which they’re waiting.
And then there’s the curious coincidence of a week-old cessation of reserve buses with a week-old doubling of parking fees for state beaches. Conflicting currents of distorted interests is big government.