Connect Transit data appears

By:  Diane Benjamin

An addendum was posted to the meeting packet for yesterday with all the “data” normally reported:

As reported in this story:

paying customers for September was way down from previous months.  The passenger reports were missing when I did that story, so that makes this information even more fascinating.

Below is what Connect reported in the addendum:

fix september

First note boardings are down from last year even though Mike McCurdy told the Normal Town Council that boardings are up after the route restructuring.

Second, boardings are higher than August.  Since paying customers are lower, the increase can only be contract riders like ISU and Heartland students.

Third, the note below the graph says Redbird ridership was the majority of the decrease.  Paying customers at $1 each was down around 13,500 based on revenue.  Was Redbird really down when students only pay through tuition?

Does this prove Connect Transit mostly exists to transport college students at our expense and people who need public transit have given up trying to ride?  More months of data are needed!  I will be watching.


15 thoughts on “Connect Transit data appears

  1. The connect transit debacle is just that. Bad service while fleecing taxpayers. Cut off their government funding and lets see if they can exist on their own.

  2. What a surprise! Looks like Mikey was caught in a lie. When you lie you usually have to back it up with more lies. Connect Transit is indeed a free-to-them shuttle service for ISU students. It continues to fail those most in need and vulnerable. Instead, it provides transportation for ISU students underwritten by local taxpayers. Notice how the 3D bar graph is turned slightly clockwise and the spacing increments of 50,000 riders are so close together. Safe to say they are trying to make the green and blue bars representing years 2019 and 2020 appear to be the same or similar height. Like Uptown, Connect Transit can only attract folks with subsidies. Few pay or are willing to pay the actual cost price. That tells us neither CT or Uptown could survive on their own without continuous taxpayer subsidies. It’s only going to get worse folks.

    1. ISU negotiates the cost of universal passes for university students, faculty and staff. The pass is paid as part of fees, not as part of tuition. Population density is higher in the area surrounding ISU so the cost/ride is lower than the rest of the City/Town. The Redbird Express circulates around campus serving primarily students. State & Federal tax dollars subsidize the service. Without the students, CT would collapse.

      1. Clarification noted. I agree. The wording “free-to-them” was my cheeky way of noting that the students feel as though it is a “free” since it’s not out of pocket, while as Diane noted, its a mandatory fee tacked onto the tuition bill. Either way, in my opinion, this ISU arrangement is a means for Connect Transit to goose their numbers while bringing in a large lump sum of cash. If it were out of pocket, Connect Transit would bring in much less from ISU students.

  3. It seems to me (my opinion based on my observations of what has been done and is being done to the entire Town of Normal around ISU) that the sole purpose of almost all of the upgrading/up-scaling of the town is designed to enhance ISU and attract students. The bus system is just part of this plan. Considering higher education is being disrupted and WILL change dramatically soon, Normal’s leadership has spent millions of dollars promoting an industry that is declining and will most likely be radically different or gone in just a few years.

    1. Never: Very logical thought process and accurate. Koos’ political rise and survival are tied directly to his relationship with ISU. Ask anyone involved that profit off of local students and they will tell you the following mean the most to students and parents when selecting a school: lifestyle choices, transportation options and perceived safety of the school. Sadly, academics for both students and parents are not number one. I really don’t know about Bowman but Koos and Dietz are quite chummy. Dietz knows the above are vital to attracting the Chicago suburbanite student that ISU so desperately needs so it doesn’t become EIU or WIU. Koos and Dietz have worked hand in glove on the upscale off campus student housing and other amenities to help capture the Chicago student. The bus service is a small portion of this quid pro quo. The new train station and Uptown project were designed on purpose to look like a downtown in a Chicago burb. In return, Dietz has his underlings promote support for Koos and handpicked candidates among the students much in the same fashion Renner works IWU for his political survival. Both get their back scratched and both get what they want via taxpayer money.

      1. This is exactly why they will protect huge buses forever. They are part of their master plan to attract ISU students here. So the taxpayers here are subsidizing (paying for) an inefficient and wasteful transit system that is really only part of a marketing package for ISU. So Fuhrer Koos has bet the farm (put the Town of Normal in debt and altered the very character of the town) to support an industry that is being disrupted by technology. Who believes that in 10 years or less thousands of students will still be herded into classrooms to be lectured by one human? Who believes that the student loan bubble (currently at $1.5 trillion dollars) will not one day burst and send hundreds of colleges into bankruptcy? Yes there is no way to delay that trouble coming everyday to the Town of Normal and the taxpayers who support it with their tax dollars.

  4. So it is not an accident that the leadership in both cities and the Transit Disconnect board seem to not care about ADA compliance or serving the people or the areas of need here. They don’t care because the system is not here for the people who need it. It is a prop for a marketing plan to keep money flowing into ISU and the pockets of student dependent businesses. Pretending to help the poor and disadvantaged is just a way to protect the system from anyone wanting to propose sane alternatives. They don’t give a crap about the people who really need transportation here. This is why they don’t want to listen to the people who have concerns about routes and ADA issues. Let them eat cake – walk (or push your wheel chair) 1/2 mile to the new Veteran’s Clinic, right? They really don’t care!

    1. The ISU equation is not the whole problem, only a part of it. IMHO, the majority of Connects problems come from various city and county department heads, Connect board members and mayors that believe with every fiber of their being that the area needs public transit that rivals the major metro areas. You will never convince them otherwise because they convinced themselves long ago that this is so. When you get your head around the enormous small town egos that make these decisions and get to know them it is no longer surprising. They are right and you and me are wrong on everything and nothing will change it. They cannot bring themselves to admit they made huge mistakes and errors in judgement that costs taxpayers millions. Their response is to double and triple down on the same errors in judgement making a current mistake three times as worse in the future. These are the people that run BN-McLean County or as I call them, the Elitist Clique.

      1. Yes you are probably correct. Their vision (maybe hallucination is more accurate) of what this area is (or what they want it to be) is immovable in their minds. Where we see empty buses pounding the city streets, they see shiny public transportation moving people in an environmentally friendly way.

        So we have:

        1. Immovable socialist/environmentalist mindsets who are right and cannot be convinced otherwise
        2. Vested interests that make lots of money running and servicing the bus system
        3. The cabal of ISU and the Town of Normal leadership wanting to use the (a big city bus system) as a prop to help market and attract students

  5. the normal council members have been pretty clear about which side the Connect issue they are on. Contact the ones on the “wrong side” ask them to switch

    Council who want the system fixed;
    Karyn Smith
    Stan Nord

    Council who are happy letting the less affluent and disabled flounder
    Chris Koos
    Kathleen Lorenz
    Kevin McCarthy
    Chantelle Cummings

    1. Chris (Fuhrer) Koos
      Kathleen (Rino) Lorenz
      Kevin (Shill) McCarthy
      Chantelle (Diversity Darling) Cummings

      They really don’t care about the poor and handicapped. Is it not obvious?

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