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nowyano

Should the MBTA Privatize?

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This is an easy enough question I personally feel that it would improve service, though if you look at the problems with the contract of the commuter rail it raises questions. I'm just wondering what others are thinking about this.

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This is an easy enough question I personally feel that it would improve service, though if you look at the problems with the contract of the commuter rail it raises questions. I'm just wondering what others are thinking about this.

What I like about the commuter rail contract is that we can hold the MBCR accountable for its problems. But should we truly privatize the MBTA? If you can demonstrate that its services could even survive as a privately owned and nonsubsidized entity, then maybe. But public transportation's giant competitor--our network of roads and highways for private cars--is favored and funded so much by the government that a privatized MBTA would be from the start in an impossible position.

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Public transit systems should be just that -- public. There should be recognition that they are filling a public need, that they have positive externalities that aren't encapsulated in the amount of revenue they take in. And that should be reflected in the state's attitude toward funding the MBTA. Public, government-operated agencies in other countries operate efficient, pleasant transportation networks -- look at SNCF, which runs France's trains. How is it that a socialized, heavily unionized country with a 35 hour workweek can have a network of operative, useful, true high speed trains like the TGV, while the best that our wonderful U.S. can do is the half-assed Acela, which only reaches top speed for like 10 miles because it was built something like 10 inches too wide?? Could it have something to do with the fact that we're leaning on Amtrak to be an efficient, profit-making entity while also providing a service that is disadvantaged from the start in comparison to bankrupt airlines bailed out by the government, to highways that are BUILT and MAINTAINED with public money?

If we value rail travel, and mass transit -- which we should -- then we won't privatize them, we'll support them as public entities. The idea that privatization will create some magic improvement in service and efficiency is nothing but an illusion, it was largely an illusion for the U.K. under Thatcher, and in the case of U.S. transit it's just a thinly-veiled excuse to make enterprises that are worthwhile to society look like failing businesses.

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Public transit systems should be just that -- public.

but aren't some of the better public transit systems in the USA privatley owned?

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I can't think of a transportation system on the scale of Boston's that is privately owned.

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My bus route in Astoria, Queens was a private line, not only did they go on strike about twice a year, the buses were a complete disaster, dirty and falling apart. The public lines, at least in New Yorkk are far superior.

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Great news! MBTA voted to increase fares by 45 cents on trains and 35 cents on buses. They're also raising commuter rail fares by 22 percent.

I was kidding about the "great news" part.

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Ummmm....why? Is this to cover regular operating costs or to pay off debt so they can borrow to extend rail lines?

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Partly so that they can pour money into new systems like automated ticket machines and cheaper monthly passes, to discourage those people who only occasional visit the city, from using mass transit.

Sorry, was that to cynical?

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