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Old 03-31-2014, 03:30 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Malloric View Post
The 5-cent fare in exchange for monopoly rights was the biggest reason. It kind of worked for a time when inflation was low, but it was already a problem by the time the depression began. Once you started having the inflation with the fixed 5-cent fare, it was just pretty much over.

But the political climate at the time hated monopolies, so vertical integration and increasing the fare was a political impossibility.
And sometimes even a practical impossibility. In Chicago all the street car, El , and bus companies had been acquired by the CRT(last company to run the public transit) and the previous privately owned system had issues with lots of duplicate routes/lines because they were attempting to compete with each other before the CRT bought them but the CRT didn't have as much ability to cut things as the CTA would.
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Old 03-31-2014, 03:53 PM
 
Location: Prepperland
13,732 posts, read 9,843,323 times
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In America, before the Progressive take over of the infrastructure, roads WERE privately owned, as were bridges, ferries, canals, and railroads. The easement granted to travel upon them was reciprocated in the "right of locomotion" that all property owners had. (Inhabitants with domiciles) (Early property maps showed the property lines extending to the middle of the road)

Conversely, those who had no domicile (residents residing at residences) had to get permission (license) to use the roads.

As to the demise of private sector electric powered rail mass transit, there are many factors:
[] Government regulations, double taxes, and restrictions on fare increases
[] Competition, aided by government subsidy
[] Organized labor - strikes often crippled streetcar operations
[] Conflict with heavy rail (steam powered) - some local transit companies deliberately chose non-standard gauge to stymie any attempt to take over their rights of way
[] The influenza pandemic and other outbreaks - quarantine rules hurt mass transit
[] Conspiracy - GM, et al, deliberately destroyed the urban rail systems they bought to eliminate future competition
...
Under current conditions of meddling government, it would not be possible to operate a profitable urban rail mass transit system.

There is one possible remedy: instead of public subsidy, grant zero tax liability to any business or employee that is 100% involved in manufacture, installation, operation or maintenance of a rail transit system.

The only way to make a profit is to get tracks down and paying passengers riding.
With the expectation of tax free profits, investment money will flood into getting America "back on track."
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:44 PM
nei nei won $500 in our forum's Most Engaging Poster Contest - Thirteenth Edition (Jan-Feb 2015). 

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Location: Long Island / NYC
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Ignoring, whether transit can be profitable or not, an efficient transit system needs some level of coordination. A large subway system where lines are owned by different companies would be messy. Another fare to transfer to the other companies line? Would the other companies even try to build transfers other systems? There may be incentives to build close parallel lines by each company that are mostly so their customers could stay within the system. [This isn't hypothetical; both NYC and London had lines built by different companies, there are still a few poor connections left in NYC from the private ownership era]

Bus lines by different companies could present a problem. Transit is more useful the higher the frequency. With competing companies, bus lines would be less interested in joining to make one high frequency route on the same road. And again the same fare integration problem. Transit might be one of the situation where a monopoly is actually more efficient than competition.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:54 PM
 
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I'd say public. While it may have its inefficiencies, they're required by law not to leave people out, and since it's subsidized by public money it's generally far more affordable. I mean what's cheaper a bus or a taxi?
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:05 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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Mass transit should be handled by the private sector. A private company has far more incentive to serve their customers than the government. They would run routes based on demand and profitability and not political connections. Competition would keep prices low and service quality high. Also the lack of unions would keep the businesses sustainable.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:10 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nei View Post
Ignoring, whether transit can be profitable or not, an efficient transit system needs some level of coordination. A large subway system where lines are owned by different companies would be messy. Another fare to transfer to the other companies line? Would the other companies even try to build transfers other systems? There may be incentives to build close parallel lines by each company that are mostly so their customers could stay within the system. [This isn't hypothetical; both NYC and London had lines built by different companies, there are still a few poor connections left in NYC from the private ownership era]

Bus lines by different companies could present a problem. Transit is more useful the higher the frequency. With competing companies, bus lines would be less interested in joining to make one high frequency route on the same road. And again the same fare integration problem. Transit might be one of the situation where a monopoly is actually more efficient than competition.
People use EZ-Pass to travel on roads owned by multiple toll agencies why would mass transit be handled any differently?
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:14 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayorofnyc View Post
Mass transit should be handled by the private sector. A private company has far more incentive to serve their customers than the government. They would run routes based on demand and profitability and not political connections. Competition would keep prices low and service quality high. Also the lack of unions would keep the businesses sustainable.
Why do you think private companies would lack unions? Public transit was unionized before being taken over by the public sector, also the private sector does not usually control the right of way(streets for street cars or buses) and thus would experience political control too.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:23 PM
 
Location: Western Oregon
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Consider a town of 50,000 people where there is no bus transportation and everybody is used to driving cars. In order for a bus system to become a significant part of the city's transport, it will have to do more than buy a couple of buses and bus stations and all, and after it does it will take a while for people to want to use it in large numbers. If there are only two buses, there is no convenience. It can't start small. It has to start medium, at least. It has to run a while to prove itself.

We can't keep the investment of the system too much more than it pays, but when it finally does become a significant part of transportation it can be profitable or at least break-even, and there is less traffic congestion, less need to expand roads, things like that. In the end it pays off but it's not a money-maker as a business to start up.

In cases like this, I think local government is the best owner.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Houston, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chirack View Post
Why do you think private companies would lack unions? Public transit was unionized before being taken over by the public sector, also the private sector does not usually control the right of way(streets for street cars or buses) and thus would experience political control too.
Because most private companies would rather not deal with them (unions) as they tend to raise the cost of doing business. I think union workers only represent something like 7% of the private sector workforce.
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Old 04-06-2014, 08:39 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mayorofnyc View Post
Because most private companies would rather not deal with them (unions) as they tend to raise the cost of doing business. I think union workers only represent something like 7% of the private sector workforce.
It is one of the major downsides in this country which does nothing to benefit the American worker.
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