Consistently bad, that is:
If funding for Tri-Rail isn't approved, Tri-Rail will slash the number of weekday trains from 50 to 30 on Oct. 5, the start of the next budget year. All weekend and holiday service will be eliminated.Mind you, Tri-Rail is setting ridership records for the first time, the trains are running reasonably on time and the cars don't smell like fecal matter anymore, which makes this the perfect time to make sure that we kill the thing once and for all. Oh, and the fare hike isn't going to help matters in any significant way.
Under that scenario, Giulietti said Tri-Rail can survive another 18 months. If no funding is found, all Tri-Rail service would end.
Tri-Rail currently recovers about 18 cents of every dollar it spends on annual operating costs. Even with the increase, that is only expected to climb to 21 cents and still below the national average of 25 cents.On the plus side, people who travel to FAU won't have to pay the fifty cents for the return trip to the train station on the shuttle, so that's something. Of course, if the train stops running completely, that won't matter, and if Tri-Rail cuts twenty trains a day--presumably ten each way--that will make an only marginally convenient mode of transportation considerably less so.
Here's my personal example: during the Spring, I left my apartment at 7:15 a.m. to catch the 7:40 northbound train--I'm a little neurotic about being early and my drive crossed several school zones. If the train was on time, I got into Boca about 8:10, caught the bus within about ten minutes and was on campus about 8:30. Delays in the morning were rarely more than ten minutes. Driving would have been quicker, assuming that I-95 didn't back up to hell and back, especially since I couldn't take the HOV lane, so some days yay and some days cursing for miles. The longer trip generally meant I was in a better mood once I got to work. But if I missed that 7:40 train, there was another one at 8:10, which would make my trip tighter but still doable.
But if Tri-Rail cuts ten trains, suddenly I have fewer options, because maybe a train that would come thirty minutes later now comes forty or fifty minutes later. And if you travel during a low traffic period, half an hour is an hour at least, and you're in trouble if you miss your train.
What I'd really like to see someone do--and I'd do it if I had the expertise--is put the costs of a working public transportation system alongside what we spend on roads, police to patrol those roads, emergency services, etc. and see which one is more cost-effective. I'd bet that public transportation is competitive at the very least.