Sunday, March 11, 2007

private transit catching on

Google’s Buses Help Its Workers Beat the Rush - New York Times -- Here, Google offers as a perk what we in Cleveland, East Cleveland, Shaker Heights, Cleveland Heights, and Lakewood take for granted--mass transit. Private, customized transit systems seem to be catching on. In addition to Google, Ebay is trying private systems. Around here, The Cleveland Clinic runs its own bus system despite the presence of RTA, and yesterday, we noticed the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority also has its own little private transit system.

Google and Ebay do business in the open market of for-profit corporations and contract their transit service through an outside provider. The Cleveland Clinic finances its transit, and its real estate, using dollars gleaned in the nonprofit market for health-care services, and the CMHA exists because of the tax dollar. The more I think about it, the more I come to the realization that the Clinic and the CMHA transit services may be redundant and need to be looked at very closely.

We don't have much choice about paying the "taxes" levied either by the health-care system or by the entities that finance the CMHA as well as the RTA. Bear in mind, too, that the Clinic does not pay into the tax pool that the rest of us do. What I'm getting to is that we are probably paying for way more transit than we need, and not maximizing the usage of what we pay for. We ought to consider having CMHA use the RTA for its needs, and we ought to ask the Clinic to contribute to the tax pool before it goes starting up its own bus system. Then, we ought to ask the Clinic to cut back on health-care costs by having its employees use what the rest of us use--unless of course, the employees are so special and hard to recruit that they need the same livery service perquisite that Google employees have on that other coast. Am I making sense?

Final thought: Do you suppose the perk, the shuttle-bus service, that the Clinic employees now receive is listed as such, as additional compensation, on their wage and earnings statements submitted to the IRS?

1 comment:

  1. Getting the Clinic on board with RTA seems like it'll make a lot more sense when the Euclid Corridor Project is complete, as it will be the fastest way to get from downtown to University Circle.

    It's odd that they have a mini-bus system. Of course, it's also odd the Clinic hasn't used all the property it owns to create neighborhoods around it where its employees can live. This would reduce the need for parking and transit.

    When I went to Kent State, the university had its own transit system. I believe it's now just operated by PARTA, the regional transit authority in Portgage County. You lose some autonomy but gain in savings, I assume.