George Greanias, Metro's president, dropped a bombshell at a budget meeting earlier this week, announcing that the agency's Senior Management Team is turning in its company cars and being required to ride buses or the rail 40 times a
(A list of the employees who are subject to the requirement can be found on Metro's Web site.)
It sounded pretty incredible: A group of Metro executives accustomed to the Frank Wilson days, living the life of Riley with expense accounts and take-home cars, would have to take public transportation to and from work, each day of the week.
We wondered who would be first to resign. But it turns out, the "40 times a week" requirement isn't as strict as it seemed.
Greanias tells Hair Balls that each employee must make only four round-trip commutes each month. The remainder of trips could be as simple as getting on the rail outside Metro's downtown headquarters and riding one stop north to grab lunch at the cafeteria in the Exxon building.
We're trying to decide who has it easiest. Is it the Metro execs living outside the city, like Metro's Vice President John Sedlak who lives near Clear Lake, who can drive to a park-and-ride to catch a relatively luxurious bus, or is it the inner-loopers who must find their closest bus stop and hope their bus is on time?
We suppose the park and ride is the way to go, and maybe everyone will just drive over to the lot by Reliant Stadium, pay $3 to park and take the 15-minute rail ride to Metro's headquarters. At least one Metro exec who lives near Pearland will have to do that, because there currently are no park and ride lots out that way.
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
That's a good thing, Greanias tells us, because this new requirement is designed, in part, to show the senior managers who run Metro that areas that need public transportation are not being served.
"That's kind of the point, to show that we do have gaps in service," Greanias says.
The plan to take away company cars and vehicle allowances will save Metro about $92,000, and more importantly, as we reported on Monday, it will ensure that the people who run Metro will, at least sometimes, actually use Metro transportation.
We just hope the execs follow through on the requirement, because Greanias says it's currently being "enforced" on the honor system.