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A decision that does more harm than good

June 03, 2011

The apparent decision at City Hall to steer the Got Wheels! transit program into oblivion is a too-hasty decision that will do more harm than good.

As is typically the case in hard times, it’s the public services to the middle- and low-income populations that take the biggest hit — elected officials tend to avoid making cuts to services that higher-income, more civically engaged constituents deem to be untouchable.

Unfortunately, most riders of Got Wheels! — a bus service set up to cart the city’s youth around town — can’t vote. And so when it comes down to budget-axing time, they stand little chance with their main competition in this case: BurbankBus riders. When cuts were proposed to that program, dozens of seniors stormed City Hall in protest. And since they comprise a steadfast voting demographic, guess what happened. Yep, officials went back to Got Wheels!

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Cutting down on spending is never an easy, or popular, thing to do, but it sometimes requires a more nuanced approach to make sure that isolated constituencies do not shoulder disproportionate shares of the impacts. If officials really are intent on cutting the Got Wheels! program, they should at least take a harder look at expanding the reach of BurbankBus to pick up some of the transportation slack for our youth.
 
 

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