There’s something to be said for having a captive customer base. Remember Lily Tomlin playing Ernestine the Telephone Operator in the old Saturday Night Live skit? “We don’t care. We don’t have to. We’re the phone company.”
The management of Capital Metro, as well as its board of directors, insists it doesn’t share Ernestine’s sentiment. But for people who truly depend on public transit for their basic transportation needs, good intentions are hardly enough – and it’s a fact that Cap Metro doesn’t have to worry much about losing that business to another entity. As a quasi-governmental monopoly company, the agency bears a certain resemblance to AT&T before the feds mandated competition in that industry. Don’t like changes that Cap Metro makes? As Ernestine snorted: “Why don’t you try using two Dixie cups with a string?”
Of course, Cap Metro operates a transit agency, not a phone company. But if you’re poor, handicapped, or otherwise don’t have access to an automobile, Ernestine’s suggestion is about as good as any.
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