The Origins of REALNEO
Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Sustainable NEO Question Of The Day: May We Have Affordable Public Transportation in 2019?
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 08/31/2009 - 00:50.
I was astounded to read today, on Cleveland.com, "RTA increasing fares 25 cents on Tuesday to offset higher fuel costs". RTA is raising public transportation rates for the second time in less than a year, bringing our fare to $2.25. The PD casually reports: "The new cash fare of $2.25 is in line with other transit agencies nationwide"... and "The fare increases are tied to the price of diesel fuel and are set to expire next April 1. But the total 50-cent increase is expected to be made permanent in April by the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority board, which is facing a $20 million deficit next year."
The chart above shows trends in such RTA rate increases, as reported on Cleveland.com and the RTA website, correlated to the price from refiners to retailers for diesel fuel, from 1983 to 2009, from the US Energy Information Administration. If this reflects the real foundations and drivers of the economics of our REGIONAL TRANSIT AUTHORITY, our public transportation is not sustainable into the forseeable future... in fact, rates appear to be increasing exponentionally.
The Plain Dealer writers and editors of Cleveland.com justify nearly 20% rate increases to "offset higher fuel costs", yet this data indicates diesel fuel costs have decreased significantly in the past year.
Cleveland.com reports many disturbing facts about the current RTA condition:
Regarding RTA revenues:
Regarding what RTA and so customers are paying for fuel, it appears our price is higher than at any pump:
From reviewing the latest RTA Annual Report available online, for 2007, it appears that this article on Cleveland.com and the RTA leadership and board are already deceiving the public.
In 2007, fuel and utility costs (including electricity for the rapid transit, diesel and natural gas for buses, and even utilities for the organization, I believe) were only $25,919,960 - 10% of total operating expenses... and down 1.4% from 2006. Labor and fringe benefits were $ 173,796,848 - 68% of total operating expenses... which rose 3.6% over 2006. It will be interesting to see these numbers for 2008 (shouldn't they be out now?!?!)!!!
Considering diesel costs are a fraction of total RTA fuel and utility costs, which is only 10% of total operating expenses, even significant spikes in diesel prices - even a doubling of prices - should not justify system-wide rate increases for 20% over one year... at most, the related direct economic impact would be a few %. In fact, diesel prices and so fuel costs should have decreased since mid-2008.
From the RTA 2007 Annual Report, about performance in 2007:
Based on all this information, and media misinformation, the questions for the day include where is the 2008 Annual Report, what are the latest financials for RTA, why are we paying $3.17 per gallon for diesel until April, 2010, are we paying that price for all our diesel fuel or just some contracts (is all our diesel currently costing over $3/gallon), what have we paid over the last 10 years, versus best market prices, and has RTA "done everything internally to cut costs", including addressing the 68% labor and fringe?
Most important, based on your observations, is RTA suustainable for the future, under current leadership, and in what condition?
About RTA: Organization