Alternative to Bus-Fare Hike
So this is my proposed alternative. Part 1: Don't raise bus fares.
Instead, generate the same amount of money by raising the rates in the city parking ramps. This will encourage more people to take the bus.
But, you will probably object, NOBODY likes to take the bus during rush hour. It's too crowded. Shuffling people out of parking ramps and onto busses will only exacerbate the problem.
That's where Part 2 of my proposal kicks in: staggered starting hours.
Using all the moral suasion (and fiscal leverage) at the city's disposal, we should strive for the following (or some variant on it) as standard starting hours for the various sectors of Madison's downtown economy:
• County offices @ 7:00 AM
• State offices @ 7:30 AM
• University operations @ 8:00 AM
• City offices @ 8:30 AM
• Private businesses @ 9:00 AM
Everyone would get a full hour off for lunch, starting 4 hours after the beginning of the work day, and the normal work day would end 9 hours after it started. This would give everybody plenty of time to do all their official business and shopping either before work, after work, or during the lunch hour. And it would thin out the rush hour for both cars and busses. Businesses would love it, because they'd have a steady stream of customers instead of a sudden glut, followed by hours of ennui.
This is a win-win situation all around, but it'll take some coordination. Unfortunately, the economic picture is grim, but maybe it takes something like this to goose us into action.
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Dear Osama: The whole economy of the entire United States is completely dependent on the continued operation of the tollbooths on I-90 in northern Illinois. Helpfully, your friend, Richard