As Metro Transit's general manager, I am well aware that better solutions for complicated rides such as the one taken by Ray Rideout's wife (to and from work) can be elusive (Letters, 8/7/09). Sometimes we find better, faster ways, sometimes not, but the essential fact is that we cannot expect a "mass" transit system to be all things to all people. We do well when compared to our peer systems in cities that have greater density and population than Madison.
In terms of revenue miles and hours per capita, Metro provides a higher level of service than its peers - more than twice as much peak-hour service and one and a half times as much overall. As a result, Metro's average "per hour" ridership (the most recognized productivity measure in the country) is 36.1 rides, which is significantly higher than that of our peers.
As Mr. Rideout points out however, there are weaknesses in our system. Every system has weaknesses and every system is a work in progress. While we try to meet the needs of as many people as possible, we maintain a focus on what will benefit the majority of our customers: getting them to and from the UW campus, downtown, MATC and other large employment centers.
Bruer wrong on clerk's office
Instead of apologizing for his behavior - the rational thing to do - Ald. Bruer prefers to try to belittle the city clerk and her excellent staff ("Bruer Gesture Draws Complaint," 7/31/09).
As an election official for 21 years, I can attest to the good job City Clerk Maribeth Witzel-Behl and her staff do, even with the poor economy and the many new rules. They go overboard to train officials and make sure we have enough ballots and other supplies. Running low on ballots is nothing new. Under a past clerk, we ended up using Xeroxed ballots until new ones were delivered.
Defending Michael Jackson
The article "Michael Jackson is overrated" (Television, 7/31/09) is one of the most appalling things I've read in decades. Author Dean Robbins attempts to belittle Jackson by naming many artists whose contributions can be considered paltry in comparison. I request that Robbins become open-minded to different styles of music/entertainment. Despite the eccentricity and probable child-abuse issues, Jackson was a musical genius.