Make transit efficient, run it for profit

Mass transit has one major advantage: Where there is sufficient demand, transit is inherently cheaper than private automobile usage.

Transit should operate on a for-profit basis and its prices should closely reflect market forces – even if it means that transit fares increase.

Mass transit has one major advantage: Where there is sufficient demand, transit is inherently cheaper than private automobile usage because costs are spread over many people, making the per-person cost lower. That’s why most people fly with commercial airlines instead of chartering private jets.

But keeping the price too low reduces the ability of transit service to provide more routes and to expand.

This may seem like a radical departure, but consider that London, England contracts out its bus service. If one of the world’s busiest cities can coordinate a public-private partnership of this magnitude, there is no reason smaller cities couldn’t do the same.

The current model of treating transit as a welfare service has failed.

William Perry

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