DART is in the midst of a series of community meetings to explain its proposed fare changes. The in-person get-togethers seem to have gone swimmingly, but this afternoon, DART went all 21st century for a one-hour Twitter town hall from 1 to 2 p.m. today. Awfully brave, I thought. Something about Twitter can unleash some people's inner asshole.
The proposed changes are too complicated to explain in 140 characters, but you can look at the proposal, and DART's rationale for what amounts to a fare hike for a lot of people, here.
It's safe to say the Twitterverse didn't exactly explode in outrage. Things plodded along for most of the hour with Tweets ranging from mild to moderate displeasure:
No, DART responded. But it will introduce new 17-seat buses in October, for a "better match of ridership, vehicle & neighborhood."
Without the perception of value and reliability, there is no reason to patronize DART. #dartFareChange— Herman I May (@velociped) June 14, 2012
With the increasing number of system asset failures, DART needs to enhance reliability before worrying about fare increases. #dartFareChange— Herman I May (@velociped) June 14, 2012
Then there was this guy:
Dart fair increase, places a burden on the disabled and Seniors, to get to medical care.— Two Hats Publishing (@Publishmystory) June 14, 2012
Sort of, DART says:
#dartfarechange Why is it my connecting bus at baylor station, always pulling away, as my train arrives?— Two Hats Publishing (@Publishmystory) June 14, 2012
Which was a bit off topic:
@PublishmystoryPlease contact Customer Care Center at 214-749-3333 for more assistance.— dartmedia (@dartmedia) June 14, 2012
Then at 1:50 p.m., as the town hall neared its supposed end, there was a veritable explosion of comments mostly thanks to one Katie List, who I think comes out as the people's champion in this whole thing.
#DARTFareChange Please don't raise fares for your most LOYAL customers.— Katie List (@KatieU4P) June 14, 2012
#DARTFareChange If this goes thru, you'll lose customers. How much more will you ask us to pay next year to make up for the riders you lose?— Katie List (@KatieU4P) June 14, 2012
#DARTFareChange I know you want us to double the money to ride DART. Does that mean the experience will be twice as good?— Katie List (@KatieU4P) June 14, 2012
To whom DART responded that hey, they're not going to raise fares again at least until 2018.
Okay. So what did we learn from this? First, the fares seem like a done deal. Second, the enormous pool of DART riders who use Twitter will probably get smaller.
Oh yeah. We also learned not to trust this guy:
I think the #DARTFareChange is a step in the right direction.— Andrew LeCody (@AndrewLeCody) June 6, 2012