Under the Bus

The Covid crisis not only crippled ridership of the poorly run Broome County transit system, it shed much needed light on what is an under-scrutinized and opaque government operation.

According to a former career county worker within the department, BC Transit is a corrupt, mismanaged operation that misrepresents facts, cooks the books and cheats taxpayers out of millions of dollars. 

Because over 75% of the department’s budget is funded with federal and state tax dollars, management was quoted as saying to employees, “We don’t run this like a business because we don’t have to.”  No doubt about that.  The 21 fixed route bus lines run empty the majority of the time and most routes could be serviced with a motorcycle and side-car.  Instead, a fleet of nearly 50 full-sized buses traverse thousands of miles of roads, usually with only the driver aboard, little more than diesel-belching billboards.   Astonishingly, the department claims 2-million rides last year which equates to a just-not-believable 5400 plus riders a day, every day, a total fabrication.

In the competitive world of private enterprise, buses would be replaced with passenger vans, adjusting to dwindling demand and saving fuel and maintenance costs.  Instead, strong unions prohibit any changes and routes are set and unalterable.  Because of that, dozens of perfectly suitable vans sit silently in the Broome Transit lot.

When there is no competition and no profit incentive, there are no consequences and that crushes motivation.  BC Transit is little more than a 13 million dollar make-work-program for the 100 plus employees that devour an annual salary and pension cost of about 9 million dollars.

With alternatives like Uber, Lyft, electric scooters, bikes, and work-from-home situations becoming the norm, these realities don’t influence the “we’ve-always-done-it-this-way” mindset of an organization that has no reason to be better and brags about its own mediocrity.  Instead, we celebrate when Senator Schumer announces a $12M infusion of electric buses into the fleet so we can more greenly and grandly waste taxpayer’s money.

Just a few of the ways the county does this:

  • The newer hybrid buses have power trains made by Cummins Corp.  Cummins contractors are on-site almost every day, at $1500/day fixing problems that the employees cannot.
  • Instead of using an older bus closer to the end of usefulness to provide a Covid enclosure, management instead put a newer, $700,000.00 dollar hybrid unit into that role thereby rendering it inoperable for anything else and ultimately scrapped.
  • When touring the BAE bus manufacturing facility to see the newest models, management overruled the recommendations of BAE officials when choosing buses, opting for all electric versions when experts were telling them that was the wrong application for our area and terrain, deciding instead that green symbolism was a better political choice.

BC Transit should be privatized, along with the Arena, the Forum and the Willow Point nursing home, all entities that the county has proven it cannot manage.  Government fails miserably when competing with the private sector.  Get back to basics.


The Myth of Hunger

Broome county’s poor don’t have a hunger problem, they have a nutrition problem.  The biggest medical issue for the poor is obesity.  Real hunger problems look like this:

The poor in America look like this:

The Left cries about “food insecurity.”  This is a myth.  The federal government doles out food vouchers like they were candy.  In many cases, that is exactly what it turns out to be. 

On top of that federal safety net turned hammock, the local food bank hands out food to anyone who shows up, no questions, no means testing of any kind.  This lack of accountability, combined with the myriad of free diners, free lunches, and school feeding programs allows for a black market in food.

It works like this:  A single mom with 3 kids receives an allocation of federally funded dollars appropriate to the family size.  This allocation is meant to be sufficient to meet the nutritional needs of the family.  The children all receive free breakfast and lunch at school.  The federal benefit is not downwardly adjusted to account for this.  Should the mom avail herself to a food bank, or meals from churches, soup kitchens and free lunch programs, again, because there is no means testing or accountability, these additional sources of food have no significance to the federally funded benefit that was in and of itself appropriate to feed this family.

Once this over-abundance is achieved, then the mom can turn entrepreneurial and sell her excess federal benefits for cash.  This takes the form of “shopping” with a customer and after using her benefits card, exchanging that cart of groceries for 50 cents on the dollar, the current-going rate here in Binghamton.

Like most scams, the actual truth of what is happening and why is a far cry from what is advertised.  The federal government will tell you it’s about nutrition.  If that were actually true, the program would identify the nutritional needs of the family and then provide pre-packaged allotments designed to meet those nutritional needs and the lowest possible cost.

The government provides this benefit to buy recipients votes.  If government gave a damn about the nutritional well-being of the poor, they would design nutritionally healthy handouts and stop allowing recipients to eat there way into the healthcare system where once again, the taxpayer receives the bill for the poor choices of those who cannot or will not support themselves responsibly.  If this was actually done, recipients would scream about their rights and the pool of likely voters would shrink significantly and so, the government looks the other way while the poor poison themselves with unhealthy eating habits.

The local food-banks and other “free” food programs are just as culpable as the government.  Without means testing, accountability can’t exist and donors ought to be aware that their donation might very well be used to support an under-ground economy that provides the cash to buy alcohol, tobacco and drugs.  Again, the food-bank tugs at your conscious by telling you about “food insecurity” when what is really happening is that donors get to check off the box that says they did their good deed for the day by simply dropping a can of beans into a barrel and then pretending they are saving the world.

The poor are obese and sick courtesy of a government that wants nothing greater than to stay in power and a population of supposed do-gooders that are looking for the easiest  way to assuage their consciousness and save their souls.