In May, the Miami-Dade Commission proposed a plan to cut 16 little-used bus lines. You know, a bus- those long, smoke-belching cars that you see in the slow lane every once in a while.
While its tough to applaud the county for basically conceding that ours is the Luis Gonzalez of transit systems- obsolete and cost-inefficient, and notorious for leaving people stranded- the cuts were reasonable. Those buses, even more so than the rest of our public transportation, were under-used: boarded an average of seven times per hour, in comparison to three to five times that for your typical bus line. Which means the expense of each passenger came out to $15.15 for those lines- the county might as well have been paying their cab fare.
But while no layoffs will result from this plan, 65 driver jobs will be cut as the current ones quit or retire. And a labor union's job, almost by definition, is to be unreasonable. Members pay dues expecting their unions to be a glorious pain in the ass to management that would pay their workers in bottle caps if they were allowed to get away with it.
So kudos to Wessell Clarke, President of Transit Workers Union of America (TWU) Local 291 for cooking up one spectacularly macabre response to the cuts: a funeral procession for the millions of bus service miles so cruelly massacred by the county. On Saturday, mourners- transit workers, we're guessing- will proceed down bus routes planned to be discontinued. "These 5 million miles will be forever gone," Clarke is quoted in a press release, "This funeral lets us show respect to the citizens who will be desperately impacted by this mortal injury to our current transit system."
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The funeral begins at Miami-Dade College North Campus parking lot (11380 NW 7th Ave.) at 8:45 AM tomorrow. No need to bring a fruitcake. For more info, contact Clarke at (305) 652-9250.