Thursday, October 13, 2005

Transit Economics

Trinsit ridership is down and costs are up, way up.

The Laffer curve describes taxes not transit revenues. Transit revenue
is an entirely unique animal. Neither taxation nor market economics
apply. For instance, decisions to purchase new or repair capital
equipment is influenced by FTA rules of reasonable life and matching
funds not which choice is either locally or globally cost effective.

It is even misleading to imply that transit agencies have goals of
either optimizing revenue, service or efficiency. Transit agencies are
pulled in many directions and hemmed in by many rules that forbid those
common goals.

Oh and it isn't the economy either. If so we would see a reduction in
AADTs. Caltrans' traffic counts are on the web
and would indicate a big drop if there were such a corresponding drop
in VMT:

Take one I-280 at I-880 as an example (chosen because its well away
from big road improvements):
2000: 201,000
2001: 201,000
2002: 197,000

Another example 87 at 280:
2000: 128,000
2001: 133,000
2002: 133,000

Clearly the transit implosion we are experiencing is not a mobility issue.

What about price? Transit price is entirely divorced from costs and lags
any increases so were price the issue ridership should be rising.

People are "tired" of transit. They increasingly place higher value on
those things transit cannot deliver.

1 comment:

Seb said...