Tuesday, June 03, 2008

You're Doing It Wrong

A report on one of the bigger radio-with-pictures old-media providers covered another effect of soaring gasoline prices: increased mass-transit ridership, Oh What A Surprise.

But alas, mused the talking head, some cities -- including Indianapolis -- that have not been stuffing whacking huge subsidies into their various BigCityVapidTransit services have to make a choice: they're having to turn away riders and as the price of diesel soars, will have to either reduce routes or hours, or raise taxes.

Now maybe it's just me but one option seems to be missing; certainly the Authorized Journalist did not so much as hint at it: Outside government-controlled endeavors, increasing demand and insufficient revenue would result in price increases. Look, if the service can't support itself even during boom demand, either it's not a needed service or your approach to providing it is incorrect. Picking my pocket even harder to prop it up is simply wrong.

I made my peace with high gas prices quite some while back. If you start out with not much, even a couple bucks a gallon is a lot to pay; I've ridden a bicycle for short trips for years (and mine's no toy: it can carry a week's groceries and often does) and started using my motor-scooter for longer travels shortly after buying it. Don't come to me with higher taxes 'cos you can't afford to gas up your leased super sport'emup non-utility vehicle!

Some of the "Public Utility" businesses may not ever be profitable but completely ignoring the possibility that they might manage to pay their own way bespeaks a mindset inimical to the approach that made the U. S. one of the best places in the world to live. It's a small thing, perhaps, but it's one more step down a path we travel to our own peril and our children's doom.

9 comments:

Turk Turon said...

YES!

Yes, yes, yes.

If your business is packed to the rafters with customers and you're still losing money, you need to take a good hard look ...

Mark Alger said...

If you're not making a profit, you're pissing your capital down a rathole.

Non-profit is a dirty word.

Any entity operating commercially should be required to make a profit.

And (quelle surprise), if idiots in legislatures had not attempted to repeal economic laws (akin to legislating pi to equal 3-point-zero), that's exactly the situation which would obtain.

Article pointed to at Rodger Schultz's place: Are Conservatives More Honest Than Liberals? Well, considering that the entire left is an edifice built on self-deception... DUH!

http://www.examiner.com/a-1419425~Peter_Schweizer__Conservatives_more_honest_than_liberals_.html

M

Rob K said...

I don't see why the city should run a bus service anyway. If it's necessary and useful, a private company will start it.

Mark Alger said...

BTW, I would disagree that the best reaction to increased ridership would be to raise prices. Au contraire. I assert that the best response would be to increase capacity. You know, make a capital investment.

Or, as Heinlein put it: It's raining soup; get yourself a bucket.

M

You know whoooooo said...

Increased ridership to beyond capacity -- and no money to buy more buses. Fix: charge enough for the tix that you can either save up or pay a loan (ooo! Investors!) to buy more.

Don't pick my pocket; I didn't choose to invest in buses. Trolleys, maybe.

og said...

Speaking of scooters, and knowing you check your email once a blue moon, can you give me some reccomends for entry level scooters for a friend who wants to buy three for his kids?

Anonymous said...

The indianapolis buses have been and will continue to be a draine on this comunity similar to the parasitic colts team and public library. White elephants crashing through the wood work and the public crying give us more.

Anonymous said...

I live in Finland. Same problems, only the gas prices are over twice what you are paying, so maybe the bus lines have more reason to whine.

I work during the night so I wouldn't be able to use a bus anyway. But at least I get a tax deduction for the use of my own car. Not much comfort for somebody with my (very low) income, though.

Roberta X said...

Og: I'll get on my email this evening.