This will piss off a bunch of local progressives. A bill pushed by a Republican (ugh) lawmaker from Katy (ugh ugh) would force Cap Metro to adopt staffing arrangements designed to cut bus driver compensation. It has now passed the Senate.
It's natural to get your hackles up about this bill since bus drivers are paid so little and what business does some guy from Katy have telling Cap Metro what to pay its bus drivers anyway?
But it's not clear that the progressive position is to support higher wages for Cap Metro's bus drivers. Cap Metro bus drivers certainly make modest salaries even with collective bargaining rights. Cap Metro's budget is a zero sum game, though. Every extra dollar paid to bus drivers means one less dollar spent on bus service, which is a basic necessity for the low-income and many disabled. Higher pay for bus drivers is simply a redistribution from riders to drivers. (A similar criticism can and should be made about the Red Line.)
We bought a transit system because we believe that extra mobility is important, especially for low-income residents. Should we be willing to sacrifice bus routes or shorter headways for better-paid bus drivers? If so, how do we make the trade off at the margin? When do we say, "These five bus routes are more important than an extra dollar per hour for bus drivers?"