Inefficiency is what makes Paratransit expensive

When Mike wants something, he will say about anything to get it. He keeps bringing up the fact that we need to raise fees, especially on public transportation and Paratransit. He points out that the Feds give the city about $13 million a year for several different programs, then he makes the hysterical comment that we ‘should pay for these things ourselves’.

Let remind my conservative friends who think the Federal government is going broke (and now that Mike is a Trump loving Indy) that it doesn’t really matter. WE pay Federal Income Taxes for Federal programs, and I am sure it is WELL over $13 million a year in Sioux Falls. When the Feds ‘Give’ us money, it is OUR money.

But what I find hypocritical is that the same mayor didn’t blink an eye when FEMA gave us $10 million for the ice storm or $27 million for the RR track land that is worth about $2-4 million.

Which brings us to his continuous rant about Paratransit costing $30 a ride.

You want to know why? Inefficiencies. I don’t think or believe Paratransit has upgraded their dispatch system for probably over a decade. And why would they? When you had the cash cow called the Feds funding most of your program, inefficiency means you can charge more.

I will defend MMM on one thing, it’s time to start finding a way to save taxpayers money on Paratransit.

I did some rough 30 minute research on what a taxi company makes on rides, expenses, etc. Then I looked at the Paratransit route system in Sioux Falls. Even if we gave only one way rides to one person on transit system like a cab, and used a similar old school dispatch system, it shouldn’t cost more then $12 a ride. Now let’s say we put in a super modern dispatch system that picked up multiple riders at once we could probably get that number down to $4 or $5 a ride.

There is obviously some efficiency problems with Paratransit, so why punish the riders with higher fees? That’s business acumen for yah!


#1 Titleist on 03.29.17 at 11:20 pm

Thank God for paratransit. A much needed service in SF.

#2 anonymous on 03.30.17 at 6:03 am

Years of taxpayers footing the transportation bill for agencies like Dakota Abilities, Lifescape…..has helped bring us to this point.

In addition, allowing Paratransit clients to live outside of the boundaries prescribed by the feds has also contributed to the current situation taxpayers find themselves in.

#3 The D@ily Spin on 03.30.17 at 8:08 am

To be fair, it would be hard to manage paratransit. Some rides could cost more than $30 while others $10. Because there’s special assistance and training, I doubt any ride would be less. Regular taxis start at $10 so the price seems low. What impresses me is that the Feds sponsor. Huether wants to tap the federal money for another splurge. He used levee money for the Aquatics Bathhouse. His reasoning was let the poor swim in the polluted flood plain so exclusive swim clubs could swim with a view from the highest hill.

#4 l3wis on 03.30.17 at 9:23 am

Anon, exactly my point about inefficiencies.

#5 Briggs Warren on 03.30.17 at 1:01 pm

It’s time we just bite the bullet and admit that our entire public transit system is not at the level it should be, and that includes Paratransit. We need to look at the system we have and see what works and what doesn’t and rebuild it if necessary to be an adequate service which citizen can use affordably to get around town.

#6 Briggs Warren on 03.30.17 at 1:18 pm

On a different but related topic, I will always remember one of the last years candidates who suggested we build a light rail system in Sioux Falls. I was lucky to have my laptop at that event and was able to research an estimate for such a system quickly. Needless to say, that idea would have added more debt to the city then Huether ever could have dreamed of adding.

#7 l3wis on 03.30.17 at 1:48 pm

I would agree, time to drain the swamp. I think the next mayor needs to put out a RFP for SAM and Paratransit and find a new contractor willing to run the entities efficiently.