Laissez Faire Fare and the San Diego Transit System
By Charles Novitsky
Politicians and regulators never cease trying to convince Americans that they can give us something for less than the free market would charge us. The San Diego trolley and the entire Metropolitan Transit System are one example of a government-subsidized system where riders pay only a fraction of the cost of operating the vehicles. As San Diego debates whether to build a fourth trolley line from downtown through Clairemont to University City, it is a good time to consider whether the MTS is the best way to provide public transportation.
The MTS consists of several modes of public transportation, including light rail (i.e. trolleys), buses (including service for the disabled, called MTA Access), and railway freight services with (San Diego & Imperial Valley (SD&IV) Railroad and the Pacific Imperial Railroad (PIR)). San Diego MTS also regulates and receives licensing funds from taxicabs and car-service companies.
Is there a better way for a city's public transportation needs to be met without cost to taxpayers? Could we encourage a transportation system that does not absorb public funds (i.e. taxes), generates many private jobs, and fosters small business and entrepreneurship? Yes we could.