The Austin American-Statesman seems to have finally run out of strength for carrying CapMetro’s water.

In a May 4 article Statesman staff writer Ben Wear painted a grim picture of the CapMetro fiscal situation.

CapMetro gave its services away for free on Saturday and packed the trains, but, given its massive operating expenses, had each rider paid normal prices it still wouldn’t have turned a profit on Saturday.

What a business model! Could it have failed an easier test? What would happen if free-days were announced at Wal-Mart, Frye’s, a doctor or surgeon’s office, a car dealership, or a grocery store? They would attract enough customers to set up the business owners for retirement if they were paying customers. CapMetro can’t even attract enough to get out of the red for ONE DAY!

CapMetro has now conclusively illustrated that their rates, capacity, and operating costs are such that it’s literally impossible to turn a profit. This means there can be no more delusion about the failure of this enterprise. As long as it operates it will be a money-pit for taxpayers.

Worst of all, it offers a ride in a straight line that only a fraction of lucky greater-Austin area residents can make any use of. To use it you need the good fortune to both live and work in the straight line CapMetro services and you must want to ride a train. If you don’t, even though you pay for it, this cash bonfire doesn’t warm you at all.

Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to admit we made a really big mistake. We want to believe our actions can always be redeemed so we continue destructive behavior.

The only way CapMetro can be redeemed is to shut it down and add “Remember CapMetro!” to the Texas lexicon of sayings alongside “Remember the Alamo!” so we can be one state in 50 that can never again be duped with such a silly and wasteful expression of civic social-climbing.


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