Streams

Can Private Buses Replace Public Transit?

Thursday, August 19, 2010 - 03:01 PM

(Andrea Bernstein, Transportation Nation) When I interviewed New York City Deputy Mayor Stephen Goldsmith last week about public versus private transit, he had pretty clearly-thought out views on the matter:

"I think what you want to do right is more transportation and if there’s more transportation there’s more of a role for both TWU [Transport Workers Union] workers to be fully employed, not laid off as we’re facing, and more private transportation as well, and I think one way to think about this is that there are a lot of people living in this area needing to go to a lot of places and we ought to take the most substantial, densest routes and they ought to be run by the government-run transit systems and then the smaller areas need to be serviced by vans or cabs or whatever. So I don’t view it as this or that, I view it as how to increase the whole of transit in the community.

But as WNYC's Matthew Schuerman reports, the economics can get tricky. When entrepreneur Steve Lowry - know as "Mr. S "-- who runs buses to the Poconos, took over an old MTA route, passengers were grateful. But it turns out Mr. S's buses are a bit shabbier, and have drawn a bit more regulatory scrutiny, than customers would have expected with their old X29 bus from Coney Island to Manhattan. WNYC's Matthew Schuerman has the full story.

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