Mass transit buses idle for Black Friday
Pasco County's mass transit buses attracted more than 2,000 riders on Veterans Day, but the county will not be offering the service on Black Friday.
Earlier this month, the county staff initially proposed adding bus service on Nov. 11 and 27 after receiving public complaints about buses not running on Columbus Day, Oct. 12.
Commissioners agreed on Veterans Day, but said they wanted to wait to see if enough drivers volunteered to work the day after Thanksgiving since it was scheduled as part of a four-day weekend for county employees.
Phillip Pumphrey, Pasco's public transportation director, said last week that the service would not be available on Black Friday.
"I don't think we can pull it off,'' Pumphrey said.
The county used to run its buses on non-major holidays like Columbus and Veterans days, but cut the service in 2009 amid budget constraints. The cost of running the buses on non-major holidays is $17,000 per day.
Pumphrey said the county likely would try to budget accordingly to restore the service next year.
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All of this preparation, which includes hiring local sheriff's deputies on the big day and putting up barricades outside the store entrance, plays an important role in making sure Best Buy's sales are in the black this year. Holiday season shopping makes up 19 percent of all annual retail related sales for the year.
Black Friday sales have fallen flat for retailers in recent years, as consumer confidence has yet to reach the same levels it was before the recession. Big chain store companies continue to close stores nationwide and have reported disappointing revenue growth, if any growth at all. Read more...
Some retailers, like Staples, Gamestop, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, Burlington Coat Factory and Costco have decided they're against opening up shop on Thanksgiving Day and refuse to give in to the creep. These stores won't open until Black Friday.
For Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus, this makes sense. It's costly to employ workers on Thanksgiving, especially high-end stores whose customers aren't driven by sales anyway.
For Staples and Gamestop, the policy is new this year.
"We want our customers and associates to enjoy Thanksgiving their own way," said Demos Parneros, president of North American stores and online at Staples. The office supplies retailer will open at 6 a.m. on Black Friday.
"We know this is in stark contrast to what many other retailers are doing, but we are taking a stance to protect family time during this important holiday," said Mike Buskey, executive vice president and president of U.S. stores for Gamestop.
Gamestop stores will open at 5 a.m. on Black Friday. READ FULL STORY...