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2 unions at WRTA get three pay raises



Published: Fri, April 30, 2010 @ 12:07 a.m.

By Denise Dick

By DENISE DICK

denise_dick@vindy.com

Youngstown

Members of two unions at the Western Reserve Transit Authority have new contracts with pay raises and increases in employee health-care contributions.

WRTA’s board unanimously approved the agreements Thursday with the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Chauffeurs, Warehousemen and Helpers Local 377, which represents six service people; and with the Amalgamated Transit Union, Division No. 272, which represents the authority’s 56 drivers.

The drivers’ contract, effectively a one-year extension and a new three-year pact, calls for a 3 percent raise each year. That takes drivers to $18.13 per hour this year, $18.67 hourly beginning July 1, $19.23 hourly in 2011 and $19.81 hourly in 2012.

The new agreement also includes an increase in employees’ health insurance deductible from $200 for a single person plan and $400 for a family plan to $500 for single and $1,000 for family.

WRTA’s general fund budget totals about $8 million annually about $5.7 million of which comes from a 0.25 percent sales tax approved by Mahoning County voters in 2008.

“These employees worked well with the agency over the years when the agency was struggling with dollars,” said John P. Brown III, board member. “This contract includes a 3 percent raise over three years, but they haven’t had a raise in about five years.”

It comes out to about a 1.7 percent increase overall if the years without increases are included, he said.

The pact also implements a tiered wage system for new hires who will make 60 percent of top rate, or $11.20 per hour, after certification. Hourly pay increases under the tier system to $12.49 for year two, $13.87 for year three, $15.30 for year four, $17.86 for years five and $21.64 for the sixth year.

John Remias, union president/business agent, said his members previously ratified both the extension and the three-year pact.

He said the transit system will save money with the new contract and the tiered wage scale.

“We have 15 who are getting ready to retire,” Remias said. “We’ll lose about a third of our work force in the next two years.”

James Ferraro, WRTA executive director, said that even with the 3-percent pay raises, the authority’s drivers still make less than drivers from other transit systems.

At Akron’s bus service, drivers earn $22.18 per hour, $24.02 hourly in Cleveland and $19.90 hourly in Toledo, Ferraro said.

The six members of the Teamsters union who perform general labor including refueling and washing buses also got a 3 percent raise each year for three years.

That takes their pay to $17.84 per hour this year, $18.38 hourly in 2011 and $18.93 hourly in 2012. Like the drivers, Teamsters’ health insurance deductibles increase from $200 to $500 for a single plan and from $400 to $1,000 for a family plan.

Members also will get a signing bonus. Employees who worked 1,040 hours in 2009 will get a one-time check for $540.80. Those with fewer than 1,040 hours in 2009 will get a pro-rated amount.

Teamsters members also have gone about four years with no pay increases, board members said.


Comments

1UnionForever(1470 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Empty buses don't deserve a pay raise. Once agian we see another example of wastefull Tax & Spend in the valley. Say NO to the county wide 1/2% sales tax and stop that waste.

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2jason83(21 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Doom and gloom to scare the people into approving the tax and then give everybody a raise. In a time where everyone is taking concessions, we get another slap in the face. Here is a novel idea, how about a pay cut and try to make the wrta self sufficient.

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3Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

The private sector has to adjust while the public sector is robust !

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4LogicAndGrammar(19 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

$18.93 per hour to wash buses? Are you kidding me?

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5theword(342 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

pass another bus levey. I haven't seen more than 4 people riding on a bus

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6palbubba(664 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Once again we get a tax increase to provide raises for people attending to empty bus transportation. Another slap in the face. VOTE NO on every tax measure and against every incumbent until they get the message.

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7AtownParent(561 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Ridiculous! This just shows what manipulators this whole group was during that sales tax push they gave us. It is BS. That money was supposed to be used for expanding routes - which is a serious joke by the way. The bus that goes around the green in Canfield never stops because no one ever gets on or off it. The rest of the county never should have even been asked to pay for this system. Especially since now there is so much of a surplus that people are getting raises. If this ever comes up again for vote, I hope people remember this article and vote NO!

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8dd933(228 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I rode a WRTA bus yesterday - it was about half full. Have any of you who comment ridden a bus lately? You obviously don't know what you are talking about. Of course you don't want to pay for public transit - you need your money to pay Saudi Arabia for fuel to run you POVs.

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9citizen13(17 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

First I want to say that the bus routes have been expanded and for some this is their only means of transportation.....Second WRTA employees havent had a raise in years. They have had a wage freeze (that they agreed to) so they could keep the buses running and the employees employed. I love to hear people gripe about passing levys, THEN when government starts shutting down they SCREAM because police, fire, medical examiners, jails, schools arent "doing their jobs". You cant have it both ways. TAX dollars are needed to keep government running and running efficiently. Keep voting down levys, watch your school systems, police departments, fire departments, courts, medical examiners offices and towns fail.......then you will all be right back here bad mouthing someone else for what you have done because you refuse to pass a levy.

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10Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

If you never road the bus you have no say so especially if you think nobody is riding the bus.

In my opinion they need more room on those buses. They be packed and also pick up disabled people in weelchairs and people who have babies with strollers.

I have seen people that had to stand up because the buses were to full and I seen people get turned away and told they would have to wait for the next one because of them being so packed.

The only thing I have read so far from the replys that is true alittle is about the low lives that hang out at the bus station.

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11Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I live on the bus route and the bus is always empty. I can see it at the light everyday from my window. Also when I go to Lincoln Knolls plaza your lucky if there is 4 people on the bus getting off or on.

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12jason83(21 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

citizen13 posted 5 minutes ago

citizen13: "WRTA employees havent had a raise in years."

A: Neither have I. In fact, with the ever increasing taxes and concessions, I am making less than I have in the past. That's just the way it is for those of us not milking the public.

citizen13: "I love to hear people gripe about passing levys, THEN when government starts shutting down they SCREAM because police, fire, medical examiners, jails, schools arent "doing their jobs". You cant have it both ways. TAX dollars are needed to keep government running and running efficiently."

A: With the 1/2% currently in debate, Mahoning County stands alone with the second highest sales tax in the state. Not getting much bang for our buck.

citizen13: 'Keep voting down levys, watch your school systems, police departments, fire departments, courts, medical examiners offices and towns fail"

A: The medical examiner is not where you want to go to support your argument. The county courts (see belinky) are a mess as well. Schools, police and fire are local issues.

As for the wrta, if in fact, these busses are always full as stated by some previous post's, why the need to be subsidized by my tax dollars? The truth is that while a few of the routes may be profitable, the majority are dry runs. If my business performed as poorly as the wrta, well, it would no longer be in business.

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13city_resident(510 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

"the second highest sales tax in the state"

Huh?
http://tax.ohio.gov/divisions/tax_ana...

46 of Ohio's 88 counties have a higher sales tax than Mahoning County. Only 27 counties have a lower sales tax.

"As for the wrta, if in fact, these busses are always full as stated by some previous post's, why the need to be subsidized by my tax dollars?"

Every mass-transit system in the US is subsidized. (with the possible exception of NYC's) Why should the WRTA be special?

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14Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@Lifes2Short I have seen a couple of buses that be on the east side packed or half way packed a few times from the downtown area.

@ Everyone Yes there are times when not many people are riding but those buses do be packed/half getting there alot.

The main buses that is packed the most is Market, South, and Belmont. Do other buses be packed at times yes I was only mentioning these ones because they are really the most packed buses.

There are plenty of people depending on these buses to go to High school or college or work and also shopping.

These buses need some improvement there is certain hours the buses dont run and they stop running early on sat and dont run at all on sunday.

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15city_resident(510 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Sorry, the link in my last message was broken.
http://tax.ohio.gov/divisions/tax_ana...

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16citizen13(17 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago


@Jason83 We are in the second highest sales tax bracket in the state, we are not the second highest in the state. BIG DIFFERENCE. As far as national averages we are actually pretty much in the middle (rated 21 through the United States).

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17Lifes2Short(3875 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

nunya22

"@Lifes2Short I have seen a couple of buses that be on the east side packed or half way packed a few times from the downtown area."

I sit on my front porch just about everyday after work and on weekends and I never see the buses going up 422 and down 422 full or even half full once in 10 years I've been living here. I drive on 422 a lot and usually I get behind the bus and it maybe stops once from downtown to Lincoln Knolls. The only time I see it partially full is on the South Ave/Market Street runs.

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18jason83(21 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

citizen13 and city_resident, my bad.

city_resident, I think what the problem here is the arrogance and poor timing of our elected officials. How do you justify these pay raises in this economy? We were asked to support the .25% for the wrta out of fear that it would cease operations. We supported it even though many of us are taking pay cuts, losing hours and losing jobs. It is a slap in the face to all of us who voted for the levy.

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19Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@Lifes2Short Well I guess you must of missed when they were packed. My own family member whom lives on the eastside. I also talked to her on a cell while she was riding the bus the same one I believe that your talking about that go up to the plaza ( I think might be the Wilson bus im not all the way certain on that). But I would listen to the family member complain about how packed it was on the east side bus on her way downtown.

Like I said before they might not be packed all day everyday for some buses but they do be packed/half way to getting packed.

I have rode the bus to work and a few other places so I know for a fact I am not making it up. And when they had on the news how it's more people riding these buses the news didn't lie because it really is.

I think some of you who think not alot of people ride these buses should spend a whole day riding these buses around.

And actually see for yourselves because it is nothing any of us who has actually rode these buses can say to some of yall. I wont say anything else because some of you think these buses really be nothing but 4 or 2 people at the most on them or only packed on the weekend.

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20mrblue(976 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Are you kidding?? A pay raise?? And you want a tax passed??

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21Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@paulb That idea about the bikes would be nice but wouldn't work if you had to grocery shop and had alot of bags,alot of books for school, or children.

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22Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@paulb It sounds nice but not everyone will be willing to ride a bike long distances just being realistic( this day in age most people would be considered lazy compared to back in the day). Thanks for the link I will check out that now I just can't picture how it is safe for a baby to ride in one.

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23Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@paulb I agree with you about we as a whole need to be more resourceful. I looked at the link I looked at a couple of pages I dont see how a family of 3 and more can ride in one of those and take care of all errands. I guess things would be different in a good way and bad way if we never had the luxary of a wagon or some type of motar vehicle to rely on.

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24Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@paulb How much do you think the riders should pay?

Right now for adults it's 1.25 ( use to be a 1.00) to ride the bus. I believe it's 75 for kids and free for babies until age 5 I think dont qute me on that, it's 25 cents for a transfer that you can only use downtown at the bus station. And you cant use it to get on the same bus you just got off if for some reason you needed to get back on it.

I am not sure how much the book of student/adult tickets cost it might be about 30-50 dollars maybe about the same as a bus pass I guess.

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25city_resident(510 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

It would be nice if someone could provide an example of a non-subsidized mass-transit system WRTA could follow...

By the way, I ride the bus, pay taxes, and vote. I resent being called "lazy or poor," just because I choose to use mass-transit.

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26city_resident(510 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I have no problem with eliminating government subsidies, as long as we keep a level playing field and eliminate ALL related subsidies. If we're going to stop subsidizing mass-transit, then we need to stop subsidizing the car, too.
http://subsidyscope.com/transportatio...

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27TheLostPatrol(755 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Pass a Levy, let some time pass; hopefully the supporting voters will forget, then pass pay raises and continue to provide gilded healthcare with a $1,000 family deductible. In the private sector there are no raises this year just job eliminations, and if you do have healthcare it provides a deductible for a family of $4,000. Makes you want to run out and support another levy of any kind. What a joke.

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28Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@ImUrPO How do you know that the majority of the bus riders don't pay taxes? The people who have jobs that ride the bus have taxes taken out just like the people who dont ride the bus.

@ anyone how much do yall think bus fare should be?

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29Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@paulb From looking at the specific pictures you have posted i am not for those while we have alot of motor vehicles riding around. I would need to see a bike that is made like a car but, also eco friendly unless we got ride of all vehicles altogether.

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30Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@USA1 What is your question on an eco-friendly bike? To be honest there is good and bad on having motor vehicles/bikes and not having them.

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31Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I see plenty of passengers on the one that stops by the Northside Hospital . It must have at least six people on it after loading a couple at the stop .

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32Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@Stan there are three different buses that run by there elm, fifth, and mojer buses run past that hospital. That is all I will say on that. I will no longer comment on anything about the passengers because people will think what they think until they actually spend a whole day downtown and observe for themselves.

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33nipsy(133 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

I will never understand how the WRTA levy passed...But I will bet money that it doesn't get renewed in 3 years...

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34Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

How come noone said how much it should cost to ride the bus since plenty of you feel it's not fair? I already said how much it cost in my one reply if you pay in cash each time im just not sure on the exact price of a bus pass or student/adult ticket books.

There are actually people who work jobs and pay taxes. Some people might need the bus as a back up plan if their car broke down,stolen, trying to save up, etc other reasons.

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35Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@nipsy It passed because when it got cut back in l like 07 it cut out alot of routes and alot of people especially in Warren had to walk or get a taxi if they could afford that. When this happened while I was in college ( I was lucky I had car transportation) I seen alot of people had to drop out because of the buses no longer going out to warren and other locations.

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36brian922(1 comment)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Wow! I don't think some of you are being fair. You don't know what it's like having a job where you drive for 8hrs/day. It's stressful at times. Not to mention, the cost of living has went up. I don't think they get paid enough. You are upset because you don't make that much. Look at Youngstown, It used to be a nice city. I remember shopping Downtown. Now it's just courts and bars. Let's build our city back up. I'm voting for the levies. Let's support each other instead of trying to bring down each other.

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37Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Well brian922 , right now drug sales in the city are tax free . The dope dealers have had a free ride long enough . I propose that we put a 50% tax on all drug sales within Mahoning County . Why should the working man carry all of the load for the cost of providing services ?

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38Stan(9923 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

could_it_be :

"stan, how do you propose we collect the drug tax? "

Give the dealers a choice . Pay up or have it all confiscated and do prison time . There is no mystery as to who they are . The dealers are well known throughout the city . Now they get a free ride and pay no taxes .

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39endlessflight(2 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

As i read these comments from the citizens of Youngstown, Ohio...I laugh at the ignorance of its people...Who after years of failed industry(s) in their backyard...Have not learned a thing. For the businesses that do come to their town...They are only there for a temporary period of time...Where the owners get tax abatements/relief from the county..And they line their pockets with PROFITS....And when they use the relief time period and prositutes the youngstown workers...They close the doors and say good bye..These Agreements should be ones of Long Term Longevity.....As an independent solution consultant and well educated person...Youngstown does NOT possess Citizens of Solidarity Nature...Grouping together to make their small town the BEST for the money. Their politicians are so narrow minded...They know how to milk a cow...Till it will no longer gives milk...Then they exit stage right...And the Citizens of Youngtown allow them to do it...Try putting your INTEREST on that..YOU PUT THEM IN OFFICE...AND can remove them at anytime they are in that office and not doing their job....As far as the worker(s) of WRTA....They are not different than the workers down the road at GM--- placing a screw/part on a car being built and receiving $28.00 per hour...Or the Registered Nurse who went to school because of the wages and have no interest in helping sick people what so ever...And the list goes on...As I read the above comments of ignorance...It is clearly evident that those making the comments are that of jealousy...And have never riden on a WRTA Bus...They make comments from afar observation and not actual assessment. How unfortuate for the American Worker...In actual...You could not pay me $30.00 an hour to put up with the rude people of society that utilizes Public Transportation...From what I have sat back and witnessed..In Riding Public Transportation All over the USA...Including WRTA....I COMMEND BUS DRIVERS in Youngstown, Ohio...An d Everywhere ....Because people in todays Society...Are RUDE..I would not have the patience....Too the Union Presidents of WRTA...A standing Ovation goes out to you...You are what UNION use to be...When they looked out for the membership to which it represents...For the people of Youngstown, Ohio....You are Blessed to have the Public Transportation System you have...Not all cities are as fortunate as you are...By the way...I am a very successful... Independant Solution Consultant...I have been asked to review this Topic in Youngstown...To which I spent a week in Y-Town...And on ALL WRTA Routes....After many hours of research.... I will not be checking back to here...Because I have seen and witnessed enough....Your weaknesses are not at WRTA....You are lucky to have such a great Public Transportation system...Which still could be improved by joining suburbs to major shopping area(s) without Federal Station connection.

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40harbres(29 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Back when I first moved into this area - I had very little money and no car. The bus was what I relied on. If not for the bus - I would have lost my job.

Are there things that could be improved upon... well yes of course. Just like everything else and everyone else.

There is ALWAYS room for improvement and ALWAYS need for improvement (as some of you personally prove here with your behavior)

Push to get what you think is wrong or needing improvement fixed. Do you think sitting here and complaining about everything on vindy.com is getting anything accomplished? Some of you have intelligent valid opinions and arguments... get out there and voice them instead of arguing with a couple of know it alls and uneducated fools.

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41Elray(2 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Why do the bus driver's and the maintenance workers of the buses need to be in a union? What horrid working conditions do they work under that they need union protection?
All public sector workers get paid through tax payer dollars should be paid what the taxpayers say they should be paid. $40,000 dollars a year to drive a bus? Teachers who have to earn Master's degrees take years to earn that.
We have so many things upside down. Just because you work for the public sector doesn't mean you should be guaranteed anything, where is the "service" in public service? I don't feel bad just because you deductible went up, my living cost go up every year as well. If the local, state and federal government didn't tax us to death and regulate and tax businesses into such high prices we could have more of our money and afford to do more.

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42city_resident(510 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

"This is for all you WRTA supporters. I support the WRTA too but shouldn't the riders support it by paying a higher bus fare so it can remain solvent?"

When the .25% sales tax was passed 18 months ago, the WRTA was changed from a city-funded system to a county funded system. By law, they couldn't ask for less than .25%. If they raise our fares, ($1.25 is pretty average for a fare in Ohio, BTW) what would they do with the extra money?

"It's expensive to own a car isn't it? I don't expect anyone else to subsidize my transportation expenses, do you?"

Your transportation expenses ARE subsidized! I posted this link a couple days ago, but I think it was ignored.
http://subsidyscope.com/transportatio...

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43Nunya22(315 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

@Elray I think you should take a trip downtown and spend the whole day at the bus station and actually see what some of these drivers go through. If you go there also try going in the summer.

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44city_resident(510 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

USA1, you're paying ".44 Cents/gal of gasoline, $57 operators tax annually, etc." to PARTIALLY cover the costs of the roads you drive on. That's the point of the link I provided. Why is it OK for taxes to subsidize roads, but not mass-transit?

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45city_resident(510 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

You can't say you're "paying your own way" until the the whole cost of the roads you drive on is covered by the gasoline and operator taxes, etc. Now, I don't know if you're paying your fair share of other taxes, or not. Can you provide evidence that WRTA riders aren't paying their fair share of taxes?

You say: "The WRTA is very inefficient. It's losing money and can't afford to operate without taxpayer subsidities." Well, just so you know, the same thing can be said of ODOT, the interstate highway system, and just about every other mass-transit system in the U.S.

You seem to have the wrong idea of what I'm arguing about. I am not (and the WRTA is not, AFAIK) asking for more money to support WRTA. I'm just arguing for continued support in 3.5 years when the 0.25% sales tax comes up for renewal.

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46city_resident(510 comments)posted 4 years, 4 months ago

Try this:
http://www.wrtaonline.com/fares_passe...

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47badeepster(111 comments)posted 4 years, 3 months ago

Without looking through all these comments or through the articles in this rag newspaper, has Bertie deScumbag commented on this yet like he would if these were public employees? If not, why? Is Mrs. deScumbag or one of the minion deScumbags a bus driver?

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