RC's and IC's: Are buses the new profit center?

by zed is dead 6 Replies latest watchtower scandals

  • zed is dead
    zed is dead

    Locally there was a very strong push for EVERYBODY to ride the bus to the International convention. They discouraged driving to the stadium and were not as crazy about booking rooms through the society. My guess is that they are getting a cut of the bus fares that they organize. They even try to make whole congregations ride the same bus, even though family members would like to go together when from different congregations.

    They said the parking situation was terrible, as they said for many other conventions. Yet there is no problem with parking for football games with twice the attendance. They must not get a kickback on the parking anymore.

    Is it for control or money, or both?


  • baltar447

    I think it's a package deal that they came up with and the local C&V Bureaus. No way to know if they get a cut of it unless there's a way to find out via public information. If I had to guess I'd say I doubt it but it benefits the local bussing company.

  • leaving_quietly

    No. Sorry. No.

    Having just been through this, the buses were an absolute necessity as the parking was just not enough and way too far away. Here in Seattle, the parking area our circuit was assigned to was 1.3 miles away. Friday morning, the traffic was horrendous as the backup was over 2 hours long for some people. They didn't make it to the convention site until 11 or 11:30am, well after the convention started. Lots of congregations hired buses themselves and each person who wanted to take the bus paid for it (plus driver tip) themselves. WTBTS had no involvement in hiring buses, except for the school buses they used for shuttling people from the far parking lots to the site. And each congregation came up with their own "rules" as to how to organize the buses. There was no rule from WTBTS about not riding with family from other congregations. That would appear to be a rule local to your congregation. Although it makes sense because the price of the bus would probably be split by each person riding as it was in several congregations that I'm aware of, and prices varied from bus company to bus company. I know of a congregation that was two hours away from the site that only cost $20 per person to ride. But the bus company our congregation used where we are less than an hour from the site charged over $50 per person. It all depended on the bus company. Some congregations hired school buses, whereas most hired charter buses (way more comfortable).

    Why was the parking so terrible? One elder told me that the Huskies normally paid the city over $100,000 per game to close down the streets around the stadium to help with traffic flow. WTBTS didn't do that, so traffic was a mess. Another factor is that one of the big parking lots was closed down to normal parking and reserved for the buses. Another factor is that WTBTS didn't pay for ALL the parking available around the stadium. There were lots that are normally used for other things that would typically be available during a game (for a fee), but WTBTS didn't pay for those, and attendees weren't about to spend the money on them for three full days. That would be expensive for normal families.

    There is a problem for football games. Don't kid yourself there. A non-JW told my wife that when they went to a game, they had to park far away, and the walk in was really long. The difference is that people who go to football games are generally willing to put up with that because it's for one day, not three, and they're in much more comfortable attire for walking, and they're not dragging bags of books, food and for the most part, small kids/babies with them. Oh, and non-JWs don't complain nearly as much about this stuff as JWs do. Go figure.

  • OneEyedJoe

    In my congregation they had busses, but there wasn't a big push to ride them. They were arranged by the congregation, not the WTS. The only way it could've been a scam (as I'm quite certain that all involved in the case of my congregation were genuine moral men) is if there was a BOE letter saying that any excess contribution should be sent to the WTS WWW fund or something like that...and I'm not aware of any such letter. Though, with the new tithing arrangement I guess there wouldn't need to be, as any excess funds would be on top of the $5000 rainy day fund they're allowed and as such would have to be sent in.

    In short, as far as I could tell, it is at worst an indirect scam, in the same vein of them saying that the congregation expenses are $xx per publisher per month, but encouraging those who can contribute more to do so in order to cover the costs of those who can't give as much. In most places, they'll get extra, but not a whole lot (especially if there's regular accounts reports). It's certainly not a scam on par with the disaster relief scam, where they fix peoples stuff using free labor, then pocket the insurance money that includes funds for labor.


    Forgot to add, in our case, the busses were at least partially needed, because the WTS was too cheap to buy all the parking that is normally bought up when there's an event. In our case only the dedicated stadium parking was available, the other stuff (shops/restaurants/etc) was not (and I saw several who'd gotten towed for parking where they shouldn't)

    Second edit:

    Leaving quietly - you missed one reason why people don't mind the parking for games as much - the long walk ends with them at a fun event, not sitting in hell for 8 hours!

  • Lynnie

    Yes I thought that was rather curious myself about the Intl Convention in Seattle. My mom who lives in Lynnwood 15 miles

    away took the rented buses all three days and was told that the parking was a 'mess' etc by the elders so that why the buses were

    "required." Well they have a giant parking lot to accommodate the college football games so that could have been used.

    Funny they didn't encourage people to ride buses to the Tacoma Dome when that parking scam went down and they were charging people

    for parking when it wasn't required.

  • JWdaughter

    In Tacoma, they were charging for parking when it was actually prohibited for them to do so! It was called the Tacoma Dome Parking Scandal, remember?

  • tresdecu

    Not to hijack Zed's thread.

    But re: the T-dome parking scandal. here is a link to a story written in a small local paper when that occured


    (may have to copy and paste link)

    I was also at the Seattle convention and echo the parking / traffic horror story!!!

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