Cynical Synapse

Mon, 31 Aug 2009

Bing Gives Detroiters A Stay of Execution

Filed under: Budget, Detroit, Economy, Government, Life, People, Politics, Transit — cynicalsynapse @ 9:13 pm

Detroit’s working class gets to keep their jobs for another week or so as Mayor Dave Bing backed off plans to cut Sunday and Saturday night bus service. Still, the mayor zapped the D’s transit:

I came to work this morning, I passed six buses, three of them were totally empty, the other three had anywhere from five to six people on them. We can’t continue to pay the kind of overhead that we have right now and that’s the kind of bus ridership that we have.

One problem is Detroit Department of Transportation (DDOT) bus schedules are not synched with the suburban SMART system’s schedules. That’s an issue for both systems. And that’s an inefficiency left over from December 2002 when then out-going Michigan Gov. John Engler vetoed transit agency legislation for southeast Michigan. That buffoon’s political spitefulness is part of today’s problem, 7 years later. What an oversized ass. But I digress.

Bing also took exception to the 50 DDOT drivers who called in sick Saturday.

One of the things that happened this weekend that really bothers me is that in our negotiations with the bus drivers’ union is, on Saturday, they had 50 sick call ins. Which is ridiculous, I think. I don’t think they’re negotiating in good faith. That those 50 sick call-ins did not retard us in any way for the services that we provided says that’s at least 50 bus drivers that we don’t need.

I realize Bing’s in the “trick seat” and I appreciate he’s not pulling any punches, something the city has needed for a long time. But, he’s got to take the time to mesh DDOT and SMART so Detroiters can keep their jobs. Otherwise, he’ll see reduced income tax and increased foreclosures, which means reduced property taxes.

Mayor Bing says he’s amazed there’s not the same outcry about shootings as there is about bus service. Here’s the point the chauffer-driven mayor is missing: DDOt’s not just a bus line, it’s a lifeline! From the comments I’ve seen, Detroiters would rather see the fare jump to $2 than see service cuts.

Kudos to Bing for not putting police and fire on the chopping block–yet. He’s also not slashing water and sewerage jobs at present. Next on the “protected” list should be DDOT so those who still have jobs can keep them.

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2 Comments

  1. Good post. And yeah, Bing is in an incredibly tough situation. In a way he’s the perfect guy for the job because he doesn’t need the money (and isn’t taking a salary) and apparently doesn’t plan to run again once his first full term expires. He took the job simply to do what needs to be done, take the heat, then move on.

    If he does it right – and your points about DDOT are well-taken – then he may leave office in 4 years as the most hated, yet effective, mayor this city has had since…damn…when?

    Comment by teamowens313 — Tue, 01 Sep 2009 @ 11:56 am

  2. Unless Bing’s gonna fix it all before November, he’s got to get reelected to stay mayor. Personally, I’d like to see him get a full term. Imagine how much better off teh city could be.

    Between Bing and Bob-squared at DPS, we’re seeing some serious efforts to put the D back on the right path.

    Comment by cynicalsynapse — Tue, 01 Sep 2009 @ 6:44 pm


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