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locations. Under ADA, we will eliminate service to 5,000 of those locations. Today we employ 12,500 employees plus 8,000 working for contractors in terminals.
Under ADA, the retrenchment will bring that down so we will need to eliminate approximately 10,000 of those 20,000 jobs. This is not theory. This has already happened once in this industry.
This first map shows routes that will lose money under ADA. It is very important for you to focus on that map because from West to East it shows the result.
For instance, it shows clearly that in the route between LA and San Francisco, there are three ways to make it, the coast route and the valley routes. Those routes are profitable under ADA. However, go north of San Francisco up the coast and the route is unprofitable. With the elimination of the route, the only method to go from San Francisco to Seattle will be by Route 50, leaving the coastal route without service.
Take another example in my home state of Texas. Fort Worth to Dallas would be profitable under ADA but for those customers who wish to go to El Paso to Del Rio to Brownsville, a low income area, that route will need to be eliminated along with the small towns along that route.
Those are very key facts. Take the route between Memphis and Kansas City. Rather than going directly through Springfield, one would have to go through St. Louis to Kansas City, taking approximately one and one-half the amount of time the direct route takes. This shows the restructure after ADA. The blue area is where our route structure is most dense today. We will continue to have a substantial amount of feed service restructured in this segment of the map.
However, the yellow segment of the map shows the area of the country where the structure is only weakened. We have over the past two and one-half years begun to strengthen this but most feed in this area will be non-existent. The pink area shows the area which we feel today is already the weakest. In some places in this area you could put a point on the map in Nebraska and draw a 300-mile radius and there would be no form of public transportation, bus, subsidized air feeder or truck. All feeder service would get eliminated here.
This is more meaningful when you look at it on a state by state area. What you see here is an example of my home state of Texas. The blue routes are the trunk routes that maintain profitability after ADA. The pink routes are the routes that fall into the unprofitable category as a result of ADA. The yellow routes are not operated by us. They are operated by third party carriers that feed us and feed mostly these pink routes.
Each of the pink and yellow routes would be under massive pressure for discontinuance. Even today many of them are. When we meet to plan our budget for 1990, today our operating executives are saying to me; say, Fred, why are we running this route from Del Rio to Laredo. They will tell me, take a look at the revenue. I tell them look at the difference between the 68 percent positive and the 32 percent negative because the network is what makes Greyhound work overall.
This map shows you how that network will be changed. It is a very, very important concept to understand.
Now the third and final major point is that the rural scenario that I have outlined and this I personally know and understand quite well does not have to happen to provide accessibility. It does not have to happen to provide accessibility. In conjunction with the disabled community we at Greyhound have come up with a fivepoint program to provide accessibility to Americans with disabilities.
We have listened very carefully to the comments of the disabled community. I myself in hours and hours of conference, both with individuals with disabilities riding our buses—I was riding the bus routes very recently out on the West Coast, two trips interviewing all the customers including Americans with disabilities—we have listened very, very carefully and we have come up with a five-point program.
What we propose is system accessibility as opposed to individual vehicle accessibility. System accessibility is precisely what the ADA Senate bill requires for, for instance, public school bus operators.
System accessibility is the requirement put upon them. That is the requirement we would like to have upon us, system accessibility as opposed to vehicle accessibility. We have a five-point program:
One, extension of our already existing helping hand program, called a transportation assistance program, where we will permit disabled people to travel alone as opposed to having to have a companion accompany them.
Second, we intend to establish an 800 number, an 800 number manned by disabled Americans because we employ them in our telephone answering centers in Charlotte and Omaha. There they can get specific information with respect to their particular and peculiar needs from other disabled Americans. That is one heck of an idea that came out of our conference with disabled Americans.
Third, we would be able to design a new wheelchair lift to make the lift on the bust itself safer and accomplished with a greater sense of dignity. We think that is very important. I myself
have looked at the various chairs. We have visited with a vendor of a chair that has been recommended to us by the members of the disabled community. We have shown them the chair. They like it. We like it. We think it can be redesigned and made to work for us.
Furthermore, we believe that within two years, if this committee will give us the latitude to do so, we can have those chairs available at our 200 major terminals across the country where 85 percent of our boardings occur.
Finally, we will join the technical assistance program advocated in the draft form by the National Council on Disability and we will contribute $100,000 to the advertising campaign that legislation proposes.
The last point of the five-point program: We believe that there should be further tests like the one Mr. Picknelly has done between Boston and Springfield. We believe we should look very carefully at wheelchair accessible buses to see what the frequency of use is and cost of operation to see how it works out before we man
date accessibility on the basis of the vehicle as opposed to the system.
In conclusion, I believe we at Greyhound have a choice and I be lieve we share in that choice with this committee. Under ADA as passed by the Senate we will be in a situation of needing to spend the next six years scaling back our operations so that it can accommodate a new method and system of operation, so that we can indeed survive in that blue sector, yellow sector and pink sector with a different type of service than we have today but still survive.
That is one choice. The other choice we have is to implement our five-point program where we can spend our time, money, energy, effort at making our entire system accessible to, say, in the same fashion that airlines are accessible, school bus companies are accessible, in the same manner within the context of non-undue hardship. We believe that is the right program to work under because that is relying on the positives, not the negatives.
Thank you very much. Mr. MINETA. Let me start this morning's questioning with our junior members first. Mr. Laughlin, would you like to start the questions from a fellow Texan?
Mr. LAUGHLIN. I was not expecting the honor and distinction of going first, Mr. Chairman, but I thank you.
Mr. Currey, I just have one area of questions. I am concerned about the discussion of abandoning rural service. My home town is a town now of about 8,000 people. It does not have any rail track there, it never has. The nearest airport is in Houston, about 75 miles away. The second airport is about 90 miles away, and the only public transportation the people in my home town have is bus service.
When I was a child, Continental Trailways, and I want to call it the Missouri Pacific-is that the other bus? I have been gone so long, I am not sure. They both serviced that town. Your company currently does on what is probably an infrequent basis two times a day. As I think about this congressional district I represent, which is larger than nine of our States, there is no rail service in this district, and there is no commercial air service.
So I am intrigued by your proposal, your five-point proposal. Is that something that you are here committed to implement in your
company, and are you satisfied that if it were implemented that · you would be able to serve all these pink lines? I noticed one of the pink lines went through West Columbia, Texas. Are you satisfied, are you prepared to commit that if this five-point program were implemented that you would be able to serve the West Columbias and the other communities of much smaller size on those pink lines throughout America?
Mr. CURREY. Sir, the West Columbias of America are very important to Greyhound Lines and the lines that we acquired from Trailways, Inc. a couple of years ago. They are critical to our continued existence. We wish to continue to serve them. We believe not only should we continue to serve them, but we believe that it is quite important that we extend that service in every way possible.
And I would like to note that we have extended the service through our Greyhound Rural Connection Program in the State of Texas by connecting up with ten rural providers- I hope soon we are connected up with one in West Columbia-rural providers that are subsidized under section 18 of the Urban Mass Transit Act.
The five-point program that has us providing accessibility to our system through our telephone answering centers, through a chair especially designed to lift the person onto the bus with dignity and with comfort, we believe that that program can be put in place at our 200 major terminals within the next two years and that it will prevent the loss of service to West Columbia and the West Columbias of America. We believe that is in our mutual interest, sir.
Mr. LAUGHLIN. Well, I would like to see more information on your point three about the boarding chair and particularly input from the disabled community on that because, as I think about the Greyhound buses I have been on over the years, the way they are designed, the front entry-and I am no engineer-I find it very difficult to imagine how a person with disabilities in a wheelchair, confined, would be able to make the sharp lift angle after going up the narrow steps.
Mr. CURREY. I understand. I understand.
Mr. LAUGHLIN. I would appreciate you or your company or your staff furnishing me and perhaps this committee the input from the disabled community as you progress with that design and your testing and implementation of that chair.
Mr. CURREY. I understand, sir, and within the past week I sat in such a chair because it troubled me also, and
Mr. LAUGHLIN. I think that is admirable, but I still think input from the disabled community would have more validity.
Mr. CURREY. The chair we are working with to redesign was recommended to us by the disabled community, specifically by Ken Waltrip there in Dallas that we have had extensive visits with on this problem. He thinks it is the best chair in operation today.
Mr. LAUGHLIN. He is a very eloquent spokesman. He is a former TCU football player.
Mr. CURREY. He is a former TCU football player, he is an eloquent spokesman and a strong-willed man. He has been extremely constructive in working with us to show us the type of equipment that Americans with disability can use with grace and dignity.
Mr. LAUGHLIN. Your point two, I think, would be interesting to have more input about the program at Greyhound using the disabled and how-and input from the disabled community on the implementation of the use of the disabled persons to man the 800 number, that is input as you get it. I would appreciate having that, too.
Mr. CURREY. We would be more than pleased to provide you with that. We have a considerable number of Americans with disabilities that work in our Charlotte telephone answering center. One picture of one man particularly comes to my mind because he doesn't live on a wheelchair, he lives on a cot that is wheeled in every morning when he comes to work, and what work is done for him is to give him dignity and respect, and he is one of our outstanding employees, and it is he who came up with the idea that disabled people be utilized to answer the telephone to distribute information to other disabled people, because they would clearly have the empathy for their need.
Mr. LAUGHLIN. Mr. Chairman, as one last side note, I would like to inquire almost on a personal nature, Mr. Waltrip sustained a broken neck in a game against the University of Alabama, made national news when he went to the Soviet Union for some type of in ative therapy on his spinal cord. Can you describe his mobility for us now?
Mr. CURREY. He is in a wheelchair, and he is able to live a very full and active life. He has taken a very interesting approach. He looked me in the eye and said, “Rather than $40 million a year for wheelchair lifts, I sure wish you would put the $40 million"-I assured Ken I didn't have the $40 million-but he said "Anyway, I would like for you to put the $40 million behind basic research for nerve regeneration", and he was able to inform me in our two meetings that there has been some very major breakthrough in that basic research for nerve regeneration because that man intends to be more mobile in the future rather than less.
Mr. LAUGHLIN. Please pass along my best regards to Ken. He is from my home county, Mr. Chairman. I also served with Continental Trailways and the old Missouri Pacific Lines. Thank you, Mr. Currey.
Mr. CURREY. We look forward to serving new West Columbia for many years to come.
Mr. MINETA. Thank you very much, Mr. Laughlin.
Gentlemen, I appreciate your testimony and the forthrightness and frankness with which you have approached this issue.
Mr. Chairman, let me say at the outset, and I have several questions that I would like to pursue, that those from the disabled community that are present here this morning, I would hope that you would not view this as being opposed to or seeking to be opposed to the kind of legislation that is before us. Several people who have questioned with some degree of criticalness the provisions within this bill get immediately telephoned back to their district that they are now serving as a major obstacle in the movement of this legislation through the United States Congress, and I would suggest that that is not the case.
What is important at this point, I think, for this committee, Mr. Chairman, is that we don't put a business out of business that is currently serving handicapped Americans; that we try to find a way in which they can better serve the handicapped and the disabled community so that there is a service at all. The line of questioning I would like to pursue with you gentlemen this morning, because I have watched this issue very very closely and am extremely concerned that rural districts and rural states like my State of Idaho, that have limited service now for all people, including handicapped people, might in some instances, because of the economic hardships brought about by some of the proposals here, be eliminated from service altogether.
What I would like to talk to you gentlemen about and question you about is a question of equal access, and the whole of the system instead of individual units, as I think many of you have referred to. Certainly, Mr. Chairman, along with the good-faith provisions and undue hardship provisions that are important to all of us