Why should Phoenix and Tempe give free bus rides? They had NOTHING to do with the strike. The bus drivers struck against Veolia, the company that operates the buses.
If anybody should pay for the damages caused by the strike it should be the bus drivers or Veolia, not the taxpayers.
I suspect this is more about the members of the city councils of Tempe and Phoenix using taxpayer money to help themselves get reelected.
Phoenix, Tempe mull free rides after transit strike
by Lynh Bui - Apr. 15, 2012 10:53 PM
The Republic | azcentral.com
Three days of free light-rail and bus rides could be coming to the Valley as Phoenix explores ways of thanking passengers for their patience during a weeklong transit strike that disrupted service in March.
Phoenix has proposed offering three days of free transit service sometime this summer to make up for the inconvenience of a strike that affected about half of Valley Metro's 101 bus routes.
Tempe, which also was affected by the strike, is examining whether it would participate.
Phoenix Public Transit Director Neal Young said the strike created hardship for many in the community as people paid for unexpected cab fares, lost wages after not being able to get to work or missed important appointments.
Young said while there is no way to completely repay the public for losses they incurred during the strike, the city wants to implement the "Rider Appreciation Day" as a "goodwill gesture."
Young said it would also be a good opportunity to entice new riders to try public transit.
Phoenix is in the middle of working out details with bus company Veolia Transportation Services, the city of Tempe, Metro light rail and the Regional Public Transit Authority for the free-ride days, which are currently proposed to fall on a Thursday, Friday or Saturday in June or July.
The proposal would have to go through the Phoenix and Tempe city councils for final approval, along with the regional transit organizations.
Tempe transportation spokeswoman Sue Taaffe said the city is in conversations with Phoenix on the rider-appreciation days, but it is trying to determine exactly what it's going to do.
Young said the company has offered to help market the free-ride days, but members of the Phoenix City Council want Veolia to share in the city's projected loss of $330,000 to waive fares.
Veolia, the company that runs the bus routes impacted by the strike, is working with Phoenix to help with the day, but how it will participate has yet to be determined, Veolia spokeswoman Valerie Michael said.
About 1,000 of the company's bus drivers in Tempe and Phoenix went on strike in March as Amalgamated Transit Local 1433 and Veolia were developing new collective-bargaining contracts.
But elected officials in Phoenix will push for financial help from Veolia.
"I really don't feel this is the city of Phoenix's fault," City Councilwoman Thelda Williams said of the strike. "Veolia owes us some sort of monetary apology."
The proposal is expected to go before the Phoenix City Council for review in the next few months.
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