They May Take Our Buses, But They'll Never Take Our Trains and Boats

Breathe easy, Water Taxi: This guy won't be taking your business.
So the Free Marketeers of the Bush Federal Transportation Administration dropped a regulation that killed Metro bus shuttles to Mariners games. Basically, the regulation makes public transit agencies put their shuttle service up for bidding, and if any private company even says they want in--regardless of what they're going to charge--the public authority has to bow out. (For more, read this heated exchange between the USS Mariner's Derek Zumstag and an FTA form letter.) Why the supposedly transit-friendly Obama FTA hasn't repealed this is anyone's guess.

But it got me wondering whether the same holds for the special Mariners Sounder train or Mariners Water Taxi. (I couldn't find the answer anywhere online.) Obviously, it'd be hard to get in the public train business, but just about any jackass with a few dollars can get his hands on a motorboat. (If you don't believe me, spend some time on Lake Washington during, say, Seafair.)

The answer: Because the regulation was the result of bus industry lobbying, it's apparently limited to buses. The Mariners confirmed that it doesn't apply to the Sounder and Kjristine Lund of the King County Ferry District confirmed that it doesn't apply to the Water Taxi. And of course starting next year, you'll be able to take light rail from the south end to the games. Now all we need is for Barry O. to give us our buses back.

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