Why don’t more people ride mass transit? One big reason is the “mass” itself. People, especially those in prosperous nations, demand personalized transportation. And as I mentioned in this post, cost also makes it tough for mass transit to serve the masses. Reader Ryan Kennedy responds with some interesting thoughts:
A good substitute [to light rail] would be personal rapid transit (PRT). It’s estimated that PRT can be built and operated at a profit. I anticipate you saying, “Well then, if this is so, the market will implement it.” Yes, in time they will. London Heathrow is currently building a small PRT system, and a company in Sweden is building a test track for its own system. I know it would be preferable to have all transportation provided for privately, but government is so intertwined with transportation, I figure…….. don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. Whenever someone talks about/proposes LRT I find it useful to point out PRT can provide superior service without subsidies. They sort of look at me like a Martian at that point.
Ted Balaker is an award-winning filmmaker, journalist, and founding partner of Korchula Productions, a film and new media production company devoted to making important ideas entertaining.