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TRANSIT: How about outsourcing to private sector?

Letter by Michael H. Wilson, Olympia on June 21, 2010 at 11:32 am with 5 Comments »
June 22, 2010 9:03 am

The hot button question on The News Tribune website asks “What direction should Pierce Transit pursue to close its budget gap?” Then your site offers three options.

Missing is an option to open the market and let private business provide the services.

Helsinki, Finland, Stockholm, Sweden, Copenhagen, Denmark, Curitiba, Brazil and others cities have found that private companies do just as well and sometimes better while saving taxpayers money.

Jitneys, ride-sharing cabs, private bus companies, as well as part-time mom and pop operations, should be part of the solution. The people who drive the buses are intelligent, capable people. Why not give them a chance to own a business doing what they do best?

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  1. I would love to learn more. Can you provide links to these private modes of transportation in other countries? I am familiar with Sweden. The nation heavily subsidizes both the public and private transportation systems. Private train companies are allowed to use publically-owned tracks when there is not a conflict in scheduling, and 50% of the revenue goes back to the state. The private rail companies must charge the same as public transit. Sweden regulates private vehicles used for public transport very heavily, with drivers tested every 6 months.

    Right now in Tacoma, people can hire taxi’s, limo’s, rent cars, etc. There are a lot of unserved areas of Pierce County. Why do you think private businesses would add services at a reasonable rate if they haven’t already?

  2. Sumner401 says:

    Privatization and deregulation are both failures, expensive failures.
    When are some people going to learn that?

  3. Mr. Wilson is only partially correct. The stockholm system is only operated and maintained by private companies. The system is subsidized by the government, the fares are gov. set as are the schedules and routes.
    The only things I could not find was how employment was handled and where the savings came from.
    Private entry into mass transit as Mr. Wilson envisions means a huge increase in vehicles and traffic. That will not work.

  4. witchiwoman says:

    This would be like charging tolls on all the highways. Only the users pay. OK, where are all the people who choked on the tolls for the Narrows Bridge, on the transit issue.

    All you folks who don’t want to pay for transit, do you want to pay directly to drive on the highways? Or would you rather have the cost spread among everyone in the state, the way it is now? Public transit is just like any other public service, including roads and bridges. I think we forget that these things, although static, require maintenance and upkeep, to the tune of millions. Who pays? That’s right. The taxpayer. Public services may not be used by all, but they are available for all.

    And like Publico said, the Stockholm system is still subsidized byt the government. It couldn’t afford to run otherwise.

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