Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Keep Quiet and It Will All Change (for the worst)

We Have Been Too Quiet

Detroit Department of Transportation held eight public bus hearings in four locations around Detroit between August 24-27, 2009. This video is a compilation from over 60 video clips. The people were given 3 minutes to speak, not 90 seconds. The locations were well placed in areas served well by buses to enable people to attend. There were over 200 people that gathered at Rosa Parks Transit Center on the evening of August 25, 2009. Coverage by the mainstream media was extremely limited, the People cried out.

The direction DDOT was looking at going into this meeting was to:
  • Eliminate four routes
  • Eliminate weekend service between Saturday 6pm to Monday 5am - wiping out Sunday service
  • Eliminate night service on many routes between midnight and 5am.
Resolved after the meeting was to retain Sunday bus service on many lines, but runs times were extended offering perhaps half the service that was previously available. Night buses were also reduced but not eliminated.

Recent Bus Hearings

February's hearings were announced without much notice by the mainstream press. The Mayor's Press Secretary and Chief Operating Officer would rather not have many people at public hearings. Meeting the bare necessities on timing, number of meetings, and format for the meetings ensures limited involvement by the public -- which works well when the agenda is to privatize public transportation.

Meetings were scheduled at the Northwest Activity Center, and Wayne County Community College East campus. Neither of these routes is well served by buses, and two meetings were scheduled at the same time on the same date to take care of all the meetings in a single day.

The hearings had little if any impact on the route changes - literature was clearly marked as changed service. There was nothing "proposed" about the changes going into the meetings. Public meetings are used to find areas that changes proposed may need adjusting.

Printed materials following the meetings was very limited. Occupy Detroit has footage showing a single desk copy of March service changes in the office at Rosa Parks Transit Center. Offering material in Spanish and Arabic, both large population groups in the city was not available for months. Updates to schedule tables on Google Maps were incorrect for a week, and changes since have been sporadic.

Mayor Dave Bing

Source: NY Times (Sept 2009)
What kept DDOT from executing the original plan? Many say it was the election campaign for Mayor Dave Bing. Things have changed in 2012. The Mayor is approaching the end of his term and looking at running for another term as Mayor. His platform of change is evident through the campaign branding of videos on the City's YouTube channel MyDetroitCable. The branding of videos in this manner is a violation of Detroit City Charter
Section 2-106.7.
The Mayor, City Council members and City Clerk are prohibited from soliciting appointees, appointive officers and employees to work on political campaign activities using City property or during working hours.

Six Months of Recent Change

January 2012 the top management positions in the Department of Transportation were contracted through a work order under contract 2605317 prepared by Parsons Brinckerhoff to bring upstart Envisurage (est May 2011). This work order is performance based and runs 11 months until November 2012. The base amount through the work order is $2,068,000. If all incentive bonuses based on performance measures were maximized, bonuses would add $2,585,000, topping out the work order at $4,653,000.

If this work order was to be terminated in July performance bonuses would still be paid of $675,000 as a "parting bonus". City officials agreed to bringing in 5 people from outside the state with experience managing transit systems in major cities. Those that we have have worked on commuter designed systems bringing people into cities, their experience is minimal for a city that supplies workers to its suburbs through an external transit provider (i.e. SMART). Detroit has a 24 hour need for transportation that was seen as the first "cost saving" area impacted on March 3rd. It wasn't just about cost... it was about metrics that work into performance measurements. Wipe out service that they can't manage to work into performance measures effectively.

One of the performance measurements being number of riders per mile served. Eliminating the number of buses and forcing people into a limited schedule is the easiest way to see that measure improved. What it cost was jobs for thousands of people and a lack of revenue for late evening activities around the city and suburbs.
  • Transfer and arrival time doesn't connect in time for start of work hours. People that have to wake up and use the bus at 3-4am to get to work by 5am and start service at 6am. Even bus drivers that relied on taking the bus to get to work were sacrificed.
  • Night and afternoon shift workers were no longer able to get to jobs working in hospitals, grocery stores to stock shelves, janitors, restaurant workers, barbacks and waitresses at nightclubs, and more.
  • If a person uses SMART for after hours work their bus would pick up and deliver them at a stop along the boundary of the city without bus service. Waiting until it would resume between 5-8am according to the schedule of the route being served.
  • Festival attendance and working opportunities have been sacrificed. It wasn't possible for bus riders to see the Detroit Fireworks because the last bus for many routes leaves downtown before 10pm, and the fireworks started at 10:06pm. Riders wanting to attend Detroit Tigers evening games can't leave at the normal end of game, the last bus has left downtown for most routes. 10pm is the scheduled end for 7pm games and extra innings would extend it later.
Bus service to serve core business hours is the agenda, but the typical 8am-6pm hours even by the US Office of Personnel Management can be modified. But if transportation doesn't get you to and from work, then it doesn't work and the system of providing transportation for job seekers fails. This disregard is a violation of DDOT's commitment to receive funding under the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) grant programs: New Freedom (5317), and Job Access Reverse Commute (JARC) (5316).

North End Woodward Community Coalition has filed a Title VI complaint with the FTA and more can be filed. The FOIA requesting a copy of the Envisurage work order was not received within federal guidelines for compliance.

What is going on now for Mayor Dave Bing?

The Mayor takes a look at the present and future with Charlie Langston on May 31, 2012

1 comment:

  1. Great video! The previous jobs should be placed in order to make it easy for the recruiter to read over. Ensure that all information that you have put on your resume in true and correct. Transportation Resume Templates