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Old 03-30-2014, 03:28 PM
 
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Back when the US began going through the industrial revolution, public transport such as streetcars, subways, elevated rail, and intercity passenger rail were all run by the private sector. Companies, not the government, dictated transportation routes. Nowadays, public transportation is funded by public tax money, and routes are dictated by the government rather than demand. Which would you say is better? Would you prefer transportation as a public or private venture? Why?

Last edited by OuttaTheLouBurbs; 03-30-2014 at 03:55 PM..
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Old 03-30-2014, 03:34 PM
 
Location: Portland, Oregon
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I prefer public sector to be running public transportation.
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Old 03-30-2014, 09:08 PM
 
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They switched to public sector because it was no longer profitable and it wasn't that profitable beforehand. Those companies operated like monopolies and were regulated like them. Also in those days routes were directed by government and not demand. The companies needed permission from the city or local authorities to run rail or buses down the street.
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Old 03-30-2014, 10:36 PM
 
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Transit didn't switch to the public sector (and didn't stop becoming profitable) until the public sector got so heavily invested in roads, providing an effective subsidy to the automobile--which would not have been a competitor to private-owned transit networks otherwise. Once they were owned by the public sector, profitability became a secondary consideration to access, so lines that were not otherwise profitable were built and operated because they served a public good, even if they never became profitable.

When public transit was owned by the private sector, routes were directed by demand, not government--they had to run from downtown workplaces to the streetcar company's new suburb, for example--but government bodies had to give permission to private companies to operate those routes.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:28 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wburg View Post
Transit didn't switch to the public sector (and didn't stop becoming profitable) until the public sector got so heavily invested in roads, providing an effective subsidy to the automobile--which would not have been a competitor to private-owned transit networks otherwise. Once they were owned by the public sector, profitability became a secondary consideration to access, so lines that were not otherwise profitable were built and operated because they served a public good, even if they never became profitable.

When public transit was owned by the private sector, routes were directed by demand, not government--they had to run from downtown workplaces to the streetcar company's new suburb, for example--but government bodies had to give permission to private companies to operate those routes.
^^Correlation does not equal causation. We have seen evidence that the bold is NOT true. Even today "the government" by which I assume you mean the city govt does not dictate the routes, AFAIK.

We've long had roads, they've long been publicly subsidized particularly in the cities, well before cars came into the picture.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:36 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
^^Correlation does not equal causation. We have seen evidence that the bold is NOT true. Even today "the government" by which I assume you mean the city govt does not dictate the routes, AFAIK.

We've long had roads, they've long been publicly subsidized particularly in the cities, well before cars came into the picture.
Yes, but it's the extent to which they were subsidized that makes the difference.
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Old 03-31-2014, 07:56 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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Originally Posted by JR_C View Post
Yes, but it's the extent to which they were subsidized that makes the difference.
Correlation does not equal causation. I don't even know what you mean by that. In the cities, roads have long been, way before the advent of the family car, 100% subsidized. Buses and even streetcars run on public roadways. Ever see streetcar track on a dirt road?
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:29 AM
 
Location: Youngstown, Oh.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katiana View Post
Correlation does not equal causation. I don't even know what you mean by that. In the cities, roads have long been, way before the advent of the family car, 100% subsidized. Buses and even streetcars run on public roadways. Ever see streetcar track on a dirt road?
My hypothesis is that there are more lane-miles of paved road per person today than there were before the automobile became prolific. Additionally, modern asphalt roads require more maintenance than brick and concrete that were used more often in the past.
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Old 03-31-2014, 08:36 AM
 
Location: Foot of the Rockies
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^^No doubt more miles. I don't know about requiring more maintenance. And what does this have to do with public vs private sector transportation?

My hypothesis-public transportation is one of those things private enterprise doesn't do well. For public transit to be profitable, the trains, buses, whatever, have to be full. This means generally routes in areas of high population density going to commercial areas at rush hour times. That's what light rail is doing now in many cities. However, parts of town that aren't as dense, and/or as commercial need service too. That's what public funding can do, allow routes that aren't as profitable to exist for the public benefit.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:32 PM
 
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Yes, streetcar tracks very commonly ran on dirt roads, or alongside them on private right-of-way. The photo below is of Central California Traction's streetcar/interurban line, which ran from the city of Sacramento to Stockton, and had a local streetcar that ran from downtown Sacramento to Colonial Heights. The dirt road to the right is the old Stockton road, a dirt road, and the streets in the new subdivision were also dirt. They were well outside the city limits so there was no city government here. The development is brand new--in this era, the developer generally didn't build the house for you, you bought a dirt lot and built the house yourself or paid a crew to build it for you, very often including drilling your own well and digging your own septic tank.

One of the things that made streetcar lines more expensive to operate in the early 20th century was cities requiring that the streetcar company pave the streets along their contracted right-of-way, even though the streetcars gained no benefit from the hard road surface--and it provided a surface for their competitors, at their own expense.
Attached Thumbnails
Public Transport-Private or Public sector?-colonialhts.jpg  

Last edited by wburg; 03-31-2014 at 01:24 PM.. Reason: photo added
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