Commentary

Think Outside the (Fare) Box

Hello all! I’m Ben, the newest Reasonoid here. An article in the WSJ (subscription required) caught my attention today. Arlington, Texas is the largest city in the nation without any public transit. Bus service may soon be introduced, yet opposition still exists:

“A mass-transit system should not be a charitable operation,” says Warren Norred, the president of Norred Sales and Engineering in Arlington, who helped spearhead the campaign that defeated the most recent bus system at the polls in 2002.

Rather than make bus service a “charity,” there is scope for making bus service more like a business. Arlington could auction the right for bus companies to serve the area, even in sparsely populated suburban areas. Arlington is a good “blank slate” to innovate in public transit rather than imitate the largely failed models of public transit in other U.S. cities. But at least they aren’t trying light-rail.

Ben Dachis is a policy analyst at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. His research involves aviation, airport, urban land use and transportation economics and privatization.