Thursday, April 05, 2007

Cost of Mass Transit, Real Life Example

But, Mike- Mass Transit isn't supposed to make a profit. Egad. Is it supposed to be a money pit, then? Check this out, from a Richmond Pal-Item article:
"The trolley is a luxury," said Shailla Gupta. "People who use Job Connection have no alternative."

Bus Manager Larry King said the service, which is funded by tax money, cost about $30 to $40 a ride to operate with only about 10,000 riders a year.

"It is very inefficient to operate," King said. He said the bus system could save about $185,000 yearly by eliminating Job Connection.

$30-$40 a ride? A cab fare would be far less. Here comes some interesting math:

Using the numbers provided, $185,000 / $30 = 6,167 rides (rounded up, and giving benefit of the doubt to the lowest cost figure provided).

If a person works 5 days/week, and works 50 weeks/year, going to and from work, that means 5 x 50 x 2 = 500 rides/person per year.

6,167 rides / 500 rides per person = 13 people riding (rounded up).

$185,000 / 13 riders = $14,230.77 per rider

Are you kidding me? This is very clearly a transfer of wealth from the region to a very, very few, and an obscenity. Real life examples like this are why I deeply oppose mass transit. It's an oxymoron in this case. There is nothing "mass" about it.

Now, I've obviously only used the numbers provided. I'd love to see a fuller report on the numbers for this line. What's telling to me is that the bus manager is calling this service "inefficient". That tells you it is over-the-top inefficient. I had IndyGo president Gil Holmes by my side in a recent interview and he didn't flinch when I read his balance sheet numbers with 80% + of operating revenue coming from taxes. In this case, I'm guessing it's about 95%.

"Thanks" to Rex Bell for forwarding this article to me. I think he wants my blood pressure through the roof.

1 comment:

Rex Bell said...

Hey' I'm not looking to raise anybody's blood pressure, but we all need to stay just a little upset. :)