Connect Transit Fools

By:  Diane Benjamin

The waste of valuable resources continued in March.  The far right column is year-to-date, 3 months remain in their fiscal year.    https://www.connect-transit.com/documents/April%20Connect%20Transit%20Board%20Packet%204-19.pdf

marchdeficiet

Nobody should be surprised by Mike McCurdy’s comments in the article below.  He is not listening to the people.  He was appointed by Chris Koos who also doesn’t listen to taxpayers.  The only guy who is listening is John Bowman who represents Bloomington on the Board.  His comments guarantee Tari Renner will replace him when his term ends June 30th.

https://www.pantagraph.com/news/local/govt-and-politics/connect-transit-moving-forward-despite-protests/article_0e620cd3-8231-5fdb-88de-b7e334bee0b8.html

See the fictional number of riders CT claims for March:

marchrides

Since every rider who transfers to another bus is counted twice, Connect did not have 210,221 riders.  Connect either can’t or won’t say exactly how many people ride.

All we can do is guess the number of riders from the fares collected:

marchFares

Since $56,845 was collected for passenger fares at $1 per ride, 56,845 people paid for the entire month.

ISU lets not only students ride for free, faculty and staff do too.  Students have it built into tuition.  https://parking.illinoisstate.edu/campus_busing/redbird_ride/

The ISU and Other Contract Fares are likely less than $1 per ride, but let’s pretend both are $1.  That would add another 57,907 riders.  The means total riders would be 114,752 (56,845 + 57,907), nowhere near the 210,211 Connect wants you to believe rode.

31 days in March means 3,702 people per day.  (114,752 / 31)

Most of the buses start service at 7:00 am.  Some of the routes run until 3:00 am.    https://www.connect-transit.com/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?BlobID=23487

Connect has 14 routes

Since all the routes seem to end at different times, I’m going to use 9:00 pm.  That means the buses run for 14 hours a day.  3702 people / 14 hours mean 264 per hour – divided by 14 routes = 18.86  per hour.

Compare that to what Connect reported for per hour passengers:

marchridersperhour

Of course Connect’s number includes people counted twice because they transferred buses.

There isn’t a big difference between my 19 people per hour and Connect’s 22.

See now why empty buses are littering the roads?

Using the only numbers Connect reports to estimate the real number of riders, it appears for March the actual number of riders was inflated by more than 80% by counting transfers twice.  (114,752 vrs 210,211)

Year-to-date Bloomington has given Connect Transit $458,000.

Year-to-date Normal has given Connect Transit $292,500.

Besides fake ridership numbers and infrastructure destruction, what are both towns getting for their money?

Stops that aren’t where people need them, massive losses, and a Board of Trustees that isn’t listening to their customers.

Connect Transit has an entire page dedicated to opposing common sense.  It explains why they use big buses and why ride-sharing won’t work. https://www.connect-transit.com/riding/connect_transit_faqs.asp

They are listening, but only to say why their opposition is wrong.

See PDF page 28.  Connect will pay a consultant $78,800 over 3 years to do a Bus Stop Improvement Plan.

PDF page 55:

Budgeted 2020 revenue:  $1,637,000

Budgeted 2020 expenses:  $13,717,000

Budgeted loss:  $12,080,000

PDF page 63:

adminct

One more:

PDF page 103

hileform

Julie Hile is an expert in the Delphi method – meaning she can easily fix public opinion to agree with pre-determined outcomes.

The results of this working group are already known, just not to the people Connect Transit serves.  Hile will make them believe their opinions matter.

Search BlnNews.com for more on Hile.  She has been in more than one story.

10 thoughts on “Connect Transit Fools

  1. Great article, Diane.

    Julie Hile is bound to profit off all this as her firm, The Hile Group, will no doubt be contracted to do an expensive study of some type for Connect. She doesn’t work for free for the town of Normal and I’m sure she won’t for Connect either. Since Connect doesn’t have any problem flushing money down the toilet month after month, I’m sure the Hile Group won’t have a problem being the toilet where some of it gets flushed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Julie’s answer is more and bigger government all the time, every time. Doesn’t matter the subject or research question.

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  2. 1.) Interesting in the Connect Transit FAQs that they rail against ridesharing due to people not having smartphones but then talk about smartphones being the best way to plan rides. 2.) Why in the world are there 3-4 maintenance supervisors needed? It seems like that span of control could be more. Do they not trust their maintenance people that they need that much close supervision?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Maybe we are going about this all wrong. Maybe we need to contact Washington and let them know how wasteful these transportation grants are and to stop giving them out. Stop money being funneled into this absolute disgraceful waste of taxpayer funds.

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    1. WASHINGTON DC? You might as well call gov prickster for all the good it will do you. I tried to contact our reps in dc about Disconnect and lo and behold did not receive not one response from our elected people so good luck. I tried contacting our State reps as well and lo and behold I got ignored from them as well. Our reps couldnt give a rats ass.

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  4. Recrunching your numbers here (included + linked to) reinforces earlier calculations.
    9M+ operating expenses, ~1M annualized capital expenses / depreciation, ~1.8M rides overstated by 80% = ~1M rides => about $10/ride.
    A quick search of avg estimated rideshare cost in B-N? about $10/ride
    So CT is not the clear winner they make it out to be. Fewer vehicles on the road, therefore less traffic? CT wins there. But forcing people to fit the CT timetable and map is far less convenient than door-to-door, especially for those who have to transfer lines. And the added pollution of more vehicles is at least partially balanced by the wear from the heavier buses and the time frames where the buses truly are driving around empty.
    The only things keeping them afloat are the subsidies of State and Fed money (about 3/4 M/month) that probably would not be forthcoming if we were to find a way to implement Bloomington-Normal-Community-UberLyft

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The rideshare argument is incredibly misleading. First, it makes no mention of the large capital costs associated with buses and the administration of Connect Transit, which would be removed by outsourcing it to an existing player with existing digital infrastructure. There would be no debt-financing, interest payments, pensions, etc. Second, they say ridesharing requires owning a smartphone. This is true. What they want you to believe is that there is a large underserved population that doesn’t have access to a smartphone. This is untrue. Ironically, they later explain and tout Connect Transit’s app. But, wait… I thought they were worried about smartphone ownership? Third, they appear to be in denial that the average person isn’t now nor will ever be interested in riding Connect Transit. The overwhelming majority of people that ride on CT receive a subsidy and//or ride it because they have no alternative. Fourth, they used “surge” pricing on Uber, which skews the cost higher and is atypical for the average rideshare fare. Fifth, they say their research is backed by many studies, but don’t cite them. Sixth, they compare fares for a bus trip that is direct with no transfer. Hmm..how convenient. Guess they forgot about how inconvenient their service is compared to a direct door-to-door. As I mentioned to a friend, BN has way too many people feeding from the Connect Transit trough. How much do they spend with a certain local promotions company? How many checks do they cut to the Chamber for event sponsorship each year? This is the real reason Connect Transit is here to stay.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. So the solution to Disconnect is another “study” by a group that is in King Tari’s circle? What a crock! I can tell you what Hile will come up with. She will determine that Disconnect Transit is the perfect example of mass transit and that Koos and Renner should be given an award for their keeping Disconnect provided with ample funding and making Bloomington/Normal a great place to live. In other words more BS from the lovers or Tari Renner . Hile has probably never rode a city bus in her life. Set up a group of taxpayers and people who ride the bus every day and I can bet you they will have a very different opinion of what is wrong with disconnect . But we cant have that so that will never be done.

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