?It?s like, ?Oh I can be a green employer if I provide this to my employees.? And they understand that they?re using this primarily to and from work, but on the weekend if I am using this to get to a movie or to a restaurant on State Street, the company is paying for that, too, on weekends and other times.
?So it?s really an attractive financial and ridership program.?
Of course there are those that claim the unlimited ride passes are free and the transit agency is losing money over them. Kamp explains that every time a card is swiped the agency gets 95.2 cents, which will go up to $1.10 if there is a 50-cent fare increase or $1 a ride if it stays at 25 cents. The companies sponsoring this are billed quarterly, so it can be a hefty chunk of change for some.
But Kamp knows that criticism is just part of the job, ?We get flack no matter what we do.
?I think it?s the nature of any public service certainly it is in public transit where I have experience.
?As you know you?re trying to do the right things in the community. As you?re trying to make changes you inevitably will get some criticism. My sense is there is an overwhelming support for what Metro is doing most of the time, not all of the time, but most of the time. And that has translated into good community and funding support for Metro, which has benefited us since.
?That?s why I say the criticism has been there so it?s important to listen to it to make changes based on it, but I don?t think it reflects that Metro is doing the wrong thing.
?Overall I think Metro is moving in the right direction.?
One thing I always ask transit directors is if they have any advice for their peers. Kamp thought for a moment and said he hears everyone in public service tell him is that every community is unique, which he definitely feels is the case for Madison.
?Just look at the geography. Where else in the United States do you have two large lakes with an isthmus and the state capital and a university right in the middle?? Kamp says.
?That?s pretty unique. That means our services are different as a result of that. So the first thing to executives I would say is when you come into a community, don?t assume what worked in another community is what you need to do here. The first thing to do really is to listen and to learn. That would be my advice.?
Kamp says that taking what you?ve learned from the existing location and combining that with your collective experience is key in answering the question, ?Now what changes should we start making??