In New York City the public’s voice is through the Straphangers’ Campaign.
“The campaign was founded in 1979 by the New York Public Interest Research Group at a critical time for New York City transit: By the late 1970s, the city’s subways had become unreliable and decrepit. Graffiti covered every car and station; transit fires and derailments hit record levels. Crime steadily worsened. Ridership plummeted to the lowest level in 80 years. Businesses cited poor transit as a leading reason for moving out of New York. The system had become a symbol of the decline of the city itself.”–Straphangers
“The city was putting an unfair share of the burden on ordinary commuters. User fees fund 63 percent of subway costs, with the rest made up in taxes at present. If planned changes go through next year then the proportion will be 83 percent.”–Gene Russianoff, senior lawyer for Straphangers’ Campaign lobby group, AFP, November 22, 2008.
This weekend using the MTA’s 2007 figures and From Inside the Budget, I spreadsheeted that the city is paying the least amount to MTA. One could say users are directly paying 1/3, then indirectly through paying taxes to the city a little less than 1/3 and indirectly again through paying taxes to the State another third. The federal government subsidizes the city and state taxes as a deduction through federal income tax for New Yorkers, also throwing a bill or two MTA’s way each year. See: New York City Riders have the strongest voice; a Rider strike would put a Deciding Dent in the MTA
And after all that… we were just feeding derivatives and balloons; how do you like them’ bruises?
“When falling backwards, the [handstander] tucks his chin to the chest and smoothly rolls down. Once this is mastered, there is very little risk involved.”–wiki
In LA the Riders Union has proven itself as a viable public voice and political force; achieving bus drivers raises and having the infrastructure handed right back to their side of the tracks, well sort of.
“The Bus Riders Union (BRU)/Sindicato de Pasajeros (SDP) (also called 버스 승객 조합 (버승조) in Korean) is a United States civil rights organization originally formed in Los Angeles, California in 1991. It has in the past made claims of upwards of 5,000 dues-paying members and was recognized by a federal court as being among the class action representatives of 450,000 bus riders in Los Angeles for a Consent Decree against the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA)”–wiki
At Townhall Bill Steigerwald bites a trendy topic, “Bankruptcy of Mass Transit”:
The best mass transit system in the world is a private system, Tokyo.
In the United States the least worst mass transit system is San Diego:
“San Diego. I would not call it the best. I’d call it the least worst. San Diego has done some wonderful things. They started contracting out transit service in 1979. Their costs are much lower than other systems as a result.”–Townhall
Yep, sounds right to me.