A Bid for Better Transit: Improving Service with Contracted Operations
One Whitehall St., 17th Floor
646-395-9555 Price: Free, RSVP required
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Some of the best transit agencies in Europe, including London and Stockholm, effectively use competitive bidding to contract transit operations to private companies. Austin and Los Angeles are two progressive U.S. jurisdictions that show how to harness the profit motive to effectively provide bus service. Contract operators there vie with one another to earn the taxpayer subsidy that underwrites the service.
These leading cities provide high-quality service to transit riders while safeguarding transit workers’ rights to good working conditions and collective bargaining. By contrast, most U.S. transit agencies operate under a pure public sector monopoly model. The potential positive and negative aspects of contracting out in the U.S. are mostly obscured by ideological claims from the right that “privatization” is a panacea and from the left that private companies cannot effectively serve public interests. Ready to probe beyond bias?
This fall TransitCenter published A Bid for Better Transit, with contracting case studies from around the world. Join us and our panel of practitioners and experts for a candid examination of the benefits and pitfalls of competitive contracting for transit service.