Ready To Bet on BAT | The Source Weekly - Bend, Oregon

Ready To Bet on BAT

Most people who know me are aware that I'm a constant advocate for enhancing Bend's fixed-route bus service, since its beginning (in September 2006), as well as a member of CAT (Committee for Accessible Transportation). Though sometimes it has been like eating soup with a fork or driving a railroad spike with a claw hammer, I nevertheless have had the satisfaction of seeing some of my advocacies come into being - such as, for example:

* Drivers calling out upcoming stops

* The change of printed schedule from round-trip unworkable 30-minute cycles to the workable 40-minute cycles

* Establishment of a route that includes a stop for Bend Senior Center (and the adjacent public park)

Then the bottom fell out of the economy, and one option Bend considered was to just completely discontinue public transportation. But an evening when my address to the City Council received resounding applause from the audience, the Council, after lengthy deliberation, voted (by a majority of one) to retain the system with no service reductions. A number of people have credited me (because of that address) as the savior of Bend Public Transportation.

In reality, I could be not deserving credit for any of the above that might have come about without any advocating by me and an example of why I like the expression, "Amazing things can happen when nobody cares who gets credit." I can justifiably claim only that they came into being after my advocating for them. And for my advocating, I have paid a price - the price of receiving verbal abuse.

For criticizing the unworkable schedules, a supervisor threatened to ban me from riding the busses. I made a rather big issue of that event by declaring that a public service operation should not subject the public to the demeanor of a Marine drill sergeant.

My present "crusade" is to get fixed-route bus service for Sundays. Even with a frozen budget, I have nevertheless proposed how that can easily be done with no additional funding needed.

During each day of Monday through Friday, with merely just one service break of 40 minutes during the least-traveled afternoon time (1:20 to 2:00), Sunday could have runs of either of the following two options:

Five runs of 40-minute cycles, using six buses (as currently Monday through Friday)

Eight runs of 80-minute cycles (as currently on Saturday) using three buses (as currently on Saturday)

In any event, I have put my money where my mouth is. With anyone brave enough to accept my challenge, I'm ready to bet up to $1,000 that there would be a one-millionth boarding within less than two years - not three years, as it was for the first one-millionth boarding - with Sunday service. And I'll donate half of my profit to charity. No one has accepted my announced challenge.

Hoping I have not bored you by my relating my "adventures" regarding Bend Public Transportation, I now end this letter the same way I started it, with:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.

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