An open records request submitted by Texas Scorecard to Trinity Metro, formerly known as the Fort Worth Transportation Authority, revealed that bags of goodies given away to riders on opening day weren’t “free” at all.

In a previous article it was found that, in addition to the train not being filled with riders on her maiden voyage, gift bags with a $5 Starbucks gift card, neck pillow, luggage grip were given to riders. On top of that, riders were also given a mini-flashlight, pen, and free copies of the Fort Worth-Star Telegram.

Through the open records request, Texas Scorecard discovered that Trinity Metro had purchased 1080 luggage grips, 400 ink pens, and 80 flashlights equaling a grand total of $3,302.02 at taxpayer expense.

The $5 Starbucks gift cards, copies of Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and neck pillows were provided by the DFW airport, another taxpayer-funded government entity.

This is on top of the fact that taxpayers paid 100 percent for all riders in January, which Trinity Metro’s records claim there were 98,852 riders for that month.

This is a far cry from Tokyo, Japan, whose trains average around 80,000 per hour! Germany’s trains are less than 1 percent of Tokyo’s annual numbers. Texas Scorecard isn’t aware of any research showing similar or justifiable levels of demand in Texas.

Even when riders must start paying for tickets, the cost of the ticket will barely cover 10 percent of the cost to operate the train, leaving taxpayers to pick up the other 90 percent.

As has been previously reported, TEXRail has been funded with $1 billion of taxpayer money from every taxpayer in the nation, and will not improve the environment or traffic congestion. Taxpayers would be advised to demand the end of this boondoggle before it drains their wallets any more.

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.