Correction: Below I stated GTA provided free rides only to downtown. I'm being told that is incorrect and that rides were free to destinations all over Greensboro. Which begs the question: Will the City of Greensboro continue to offer this incentive to all Greensboro businesses year 'round or will this just be offered as an incentive targeting downtown businesses as it was designed to do? Begin original post:
As a liberal I support public transportation and the very idea that I can catch the Greensboro Transit Authority bus in front of my house and ride for free simply makes me giddy. It's a liberal dream come true.
Or is it?
This weekend travelers to downtown Greensboro can ride GTA buses to downtown for free to attend the National Folk Festival.
But what if I want to ride the bus somewhere else? Is that free too? What if I want to catch a bus to say Friendly Shopping Center, 4 Seasons Mall or Battleground Avenue? If I want to ride GTA to any of those places I still have to pay. What if I need to ride the bus to Golden Gate? That's right, I still pay full fare.
Full fare seems kind of unfair, doesn't it? Any fare at all seems unfair when downtown is free.
Now don't get me wrong, were it not for working I might have enjoyed the National Folk Festival and without a doubt the festival has a positive economic impact on our city but then so to do Friendly Shopping Center, 4 Seasons Mall, Battleground Avenue, Golden Gate and many other parts of our city have a positive economic impact on our city.
And none of them are getting free bus rides.
This is in-fact, just another in a long list of incentives to Downtown that the rest of Greensboro pays for but doesn't get. Greensboro business owners should be furious.
And you can expect it to start happening a lot in the not to distant future.
You see, there simply isn't parking enough for the events that are already held in Downtown Greensboro so City Council thought it a good idea to encourage people to ride the bus by making it free.
But when the downtown performing arts center, aka, the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts, opens in 2017 you can expect free bus rides to downtown Greensboro several nights a week for years as Council will be desperate to keep people coming downtown despite the higher parking fees and increased lack of available parking coupled with pressure from downtown businesses who are loosing money because performing arts center goers are taking up all the parking spaces in front of their businesses pushing their customers out of downtown.
And so it is, one by one, the very incentives they give away work to destroy the city they claimed they were trying to save.
As an aside: Have you ever wondered why the Conrad family never opened one of their Libby Hills Seafood Restaurants in downtown Greensboro? I mean they've only been operating restaurants in Greensboro for over 60 years. I can't speak for the Conrads but could it be because they have long known the average lifespan for a downtown Greensboro restaurant is less than 3 years?