Interesting chatter going on about the question "should transit be profitable" and what, exactly does profitable mean for a city's transit system.
Kicking it off was NY blogger Cap'n Transit who feels transit should charge what it needs to break even and damn the consequences - cut lines, service etc. until you reach that sweet spot. The Transport Politic refutes CT's idea of what 'profitable' means.
NY was in the unenviable position of having a budget crunch even before the economic downturn. As a result, the idea of additional transit subsidies are getting a cold shoulder from city hall who, in turn, are expressing unhappiness with proposed raises in transit fares, subway rides and additional tolls created by the MTA.
Closer to home, transit has become the belle of the ball of late. The Feds have lavished billions of cost shared dollars that could be put toward transit. Recent strikes and near-strike experiences have caused some to call for transit being declared an essential service.
Some other transit tidbits:
- According to the The Federation of Canadian Municipalities there is a $23b shortfall in transit infrastructure nationally.
- In Manitoba there are four transit systems: Winnipeg, Brandon, Thompson and Flin Flon. The next to get on board will be Selkirk.
- For existing transit services in Manitoba the province picks up 50% of the operating deficit.
- Historically, there have been 5 municipal transit systems outside of Winnipeg since 1917.