Crabill, Carrillo, and Connect Transit

By:  Diane Benjamin

In February, Connect Transit had a whooping $115,785.44 in revenue.

That revenue didn’t cover 25% of the wages they paid to employees. ($470,076.10)

Total expenses for February were $1,025,579.65.

Drum roll please – they only lost $909,794.21!

PDF page 10:    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1f2onCQqMAcgBJYz2K8wJRQemNshaqk2T/view

Both Bloomington and Normal give your tax dollars to this ridiculous endeavor – they hand them this every month for operations:

BloomNormal

That’s $610,000 a year for Bloomington and $390,000 for Normal.  That doesn’t include the capital account contributions:

capblmnor

Connect borrowed $2,980,249.22 of that capital to cover previous losses, see PDF page 11.

Jeff Crabill and Jenn Carrillo have never heard “eventually you run out of other people’s money”.

Government doesn’t grant rights, they just pretend to for votes.  Now Connect Transit wants to cut routes again, the people affected likely think they have a right to transportation.  They believe that because that’s what they have gotten used to.

Ward 8 candidate Jeff Crabill is community organizing on Facebook today, he wants you to pay more!

Carrillo wants you to pay more too:  see below.

Copied from Crabill’s page:

I echo these words from Sarah Grammer, Normal Township Trustee

Connect Transit will meet at 3:30 PM this Tuesday, March 26th in Normal Council Chambers (11 Uptown Circle) for a hearing and vote on MAJOR changes that will especially harm low-income and disabled residents. The administration is trying to improve its budget by extracting more from our neighbors who have the most limited incomes. This is simply unfair.

I need your help with two things:
1) Send a brief email OPPOSING these changes to the Connect Transit board and to your municipal council (emails listed below):
a. Elimination of yet another bus route: The Olive Route in Normal
b. Elimination of the 30-day bus passes for paratransit users
c. Improving their budget by fare and fee increases for the most vulnerable in our
community instead of through more tax revenue from Bloomington and Normal
2) Show up at the hearing on Tuesday. We must show up for those who cannot.

Consider making a public comment.
It is unconscionable to me that the transit system would ask people on incomes of $700 or less per month to pay more instead of lobbying the Town of Normal and City of Bloomington for a fairer share of the tax revenue. Property owners can handle paying a few more dollars a year in taxes; the community that has to ride transit cannot.

Email Connect Transit’s board: trustees@connect-transit.com
Email the Normal Town Council: mayor@normal.org; ccummings@normal.org; jfritzen@normal.org;
kmccarthy@normal.org; spreston@normal.org; klorenz@normal.org; rcmcbride@normal.org
Email the Bloomington City Council: mayor@cityblm.org; ward1@cityblm.org; ward2@cityblm.org; ward3@cityblm.org; ward4@cityblm.org; ward5@cityblm.org; ward6@cityblm.org; ward7@cityblm.org; ward8@cityblm.org; ward9@cityblm.org

Here are more details on some of the main issues:
1) Connect Transit wants to eliminate the Olive Route which runs from dense, multi-family housing on Orlando Avenue, past more dense housing on Shelbourne, past the Job Link office, a large mobile home park, and the ARC senior center on Beech, up Ft Jesse to Walmart in Normal.

Many individuals who live in housing on this route have NO other transportation and will not be able to afford to move to get back on the bus route. Connect Transit says expecting these individuals to walk 10-20 minutes further in any kind of weather to the next nearest bus line is no problem. BUT it is a huge hardship for young families balancing groceries and children and individuals who struggle with neuropathy and other illnesses and cannot qualify for or afford the paratransit buses.

2) Connect Transit wants to eliminate bus passes for the disabled who have to use the paratransit service (Connect Mobility). The initial proposal was to raise the 30-day paratransit pass by $5 per month to $70. However, due to Connect Transit eliminating routes in the community over the past several years, many who need paratransit now live in “special service areas” – an area off the fixed bus route. Those riders are forced to pay $3.50-$4.50 each way and are not allowed to use the monthly pass. Those riders pay the most and have no other options and asked for some sort of discount.

So, Connect Transit’s newest proposal is total elimination of the monthly pass for the paratransit service in exchange for a Value Card which was give users a 5% discount on a $25 card, 10% on a $50 card, and 15% discount on a $100 card. While this helps those living in a special service area a little bit, eliminating the bus pass hurts many other riders.

When I attended a listening session at Life CIL on Friday, paratransit riders explained how many of them make far less than minimum wage and rely on the bus to take them back and forth to work all week. That’s 40 rides in a typical month: without the pass, they will spend $100 just getting to work, and then need to spend more to get to the grocery store and run other vital errands. They talked about the extreme hardship of going from $65/month pass to needing to spend $125 or more to maintain their current ridership, on an income for many that does not rise over $650 for the entire month.

The 30+ individuals at the Life CIL meeting asked that Connect Transit please not punish them for working. They requested: keep the 30-day pass for those who rely on it and extend the small discount Value Cards for those may benefit.


Jenn Carrillo attended a listen session last week and thinks the City (YOU) should give Connect more money too:

CarConnectTrans

Imagine what could be done with some imagination instead of huge empty buses destroying the streets!

Crabill and Carrillo obviously don’t have any.

It would be cheaper just to buy the affected people cars!  Of course, it might not be when the City and State raise the Motor Fuel Tax again.

 

8 thoughts on “Crabill, Carrillo, and Connect Transit

  1. Connect Transit is trying to make itself the third rail of local politics (no pun intended) by making funding a moral decision. That is to say, ‘you don’t care about the disabled or low income if you don’t pay more or fund Connect Transit’. Missing from the discussion, as Diane points out, is that there are much better alternatives to an inefficient government-run bus system. (Perhaps, those notes were lost from the trip to Conway, Arkansas.) Connect Transit is first and foremost, a crony big-government program that exists to enrich its employees and build/strengthen the size of government. They use the poor and disabled as props to keep it going. Sarah Grammer, like her husband, doesn’t understand economics or doesn’t care about taxpayers…likely both. Her comment “Property owners can handle paying a few more dollars a year in taxes; the community that has to ride transit cannot.” is extremely ignorant and elitist. No Sarah, we can’t handle paying a few more dollars a year, because it’s a few dollars here, a few dollars there…sooner or later we’re talking about real money, families with budgets living within their means (unlike Connect Transit). It seems every time we turn around there’s someone from government reaching in our pocket for more money telling us how someone is a victim or “we really need to do this”. It’s a false choice for her or anyone to suggest we must choose either a property tax increase or raising fares. I’m in favor of a third suggestion, slashing the administrative budget. Let go of some leadership positions. Stop advertising in media and giving away promo items at Chamber events. Drop out of BN (Dis)Advantage. Get creative. We all know they won’t shut down CT, so let’s try to question the financials and work on efficiencies.

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  2. Let everyone ride free; cut staff by at least 50%; eliminate all consultants and travel; advise the area political hacks to stop or at least send buses that are half the size of the current empty vehicles. Contact IWU/ISU business departments to develop an MBA project for the Connect Transit management and give appropriate educational credits, then ask this group to look into Lyft/Uber or other type of free transportation for these riders. Put the savings into the streets. Done and done. But, nothing will happen here because the Connect Transit Trustees, B/N City administrators and staff are not smart enough to apply common sense and critical thinking to an entity that is losing nearly $ 1 MILLION PER MONTH.

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  3. I have a few words for Sarah but they can’t be published here. I own a home I do pay taxes I am on a fixed income and I am fed up with the outrageous taxes that I have to pay. Unfortunately my only out will be to get the hell out of this community and state. You Sarah can pay my share.

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  4. I know SEVERAL people who USED to ride DISCONNECT, but do NOT anymore as their routes are so screwed up, and wastes so much time. My one friend has told me it’s WAY QUICKER to walk to where he’s going then spend an hour on the bus. In an hour he SHOULD be back at home! SOCIALISM at it’s BEST!

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  5. These money spending morons will never close this off. They are gutless and the lame media in this market does not note it.(Sorry, here we are preaching to the choir) WMBD, WEEK Pantagraph and radio are pathetic. An idea to cut costs and shut morons like J & J down would be as follows. Cut frequency of rides in half, combine 2 routes into 1. Still lose big money but maybe we cut costs some. Personally the appeal to “moral” aspects,, I could care about that as much as I care for the morons who say build a recreation center for “the kids”. I am tired of funding everybody else’s problems and not being able to take care of my own.

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  6. There are many embedded in local government that frequently use their positions to influence local policies to promote their personal political beliefs. Public transit is just one of them. “Helping the poor” is a convenient mantra to bring a guilt factor into the argument. Connect Transit, bicycling, EV transit (i.e. electric cars) promotion are the vehicles used by the eco-nazis to force people off of gas-operated transportation options. These people see gas usage of any type dangerous to the environment no matter the volume and eventually want it made illegal. Recent CT leadership has been planning to make all buses electric asap claiming it will be more environmental friendly and cheaper to operate than internal combustion vehicles. It is why you have an eco-nut, year round bicycle rider as chair of the CT Board and why local planning agencies are promoting non-gasoline transportation options at every turn, along with the mayors and majority of council members. Rivian was pursued not because they were a potential job creator but because they were seen as a political partner to promote non-gasoline transportation. Most people have no idea of the mentally sick people in positions of power in this town. They really believe they are smarter than everyone and want to be your Kings and queens to tell you how you’re going to move about, what and how.much to eat and where and how you are going to live.

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  7. News flash Diane: Disconnect doesnt give a rats ass about LifCil people,disabled people,elderly people, or anyone who pays the wages of the overpaid leaders of Disconnect . All they care about is that Golden Parachute they will get once they decide to leave. Those people that really need the bus like the elderly and the low income people are not being listened to because they are considered irrelevant to not only Disconnect Transit but both city council and mayors as well. Come to think of it , all of us are being ignored and considered irrelevant !

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