Wednesday, March 21, 2007

mass transit = mass planning = massive failure

Reason magazine have a great article about how mass transit in Minneapolis is a complete failure, and the symptoms seem common to public transport systems across other states and continents.

There is no inherent problem with mass transit per se. Airplanes are a form of mass transit. But due to their private ownership and freedom from state control (except for some heavy regulation), aviation is one of the biggest industries in the world.

The problem with mass transit systems involving buses, trains and light rail is government ownership and hence central planning.

The U.S. Department of Transportation puts the yearly cost of congestion at $168 billion. But the planning gurus who are supposed to solve our transportation problems are in the grip of transitphilia and autophobia; their beliefs about how cities and transportation work are grounded more in nostalgia than in a realistic view of the world we live in now. The public policies they design and try to enforce make it harder for us to get to work, pick up our kids from school, or go shopping. They are deliberately fostering congestion. In the words of David Solow, head of the Metrolink commuter rail in Southern California, congestion is "actually good" because "it drives people out of their cars."
Enough talk ... Read the article in full.