Monday, April 11, 2005

who should decide whether we get trains?

so i've finally figured out how to make myself some cool new icons for my LJ page. (speaking of cool new icons, alex has revamped his LJ and renamed it "where's my jetpack?" in honour of one Leo McGarry. -grin-) that, my darlings, was the highlight of my evening -making CSI icons which i will have to bring into my icon-rotation. (seeing as i am cheap and am on a free LJ account, i only get three icons at a time!)

the main point of this post, however, seeing as it is pushing one am where i am, is to remind myself what i want to write about for my urban policies paper. tentatively titled "Should Public Transportation Be Public?", it recalls an argument -a rather heated one, as i recall- i had with leon over tea at Delifrance something like two summers ago. (kudos for the inspiration -grin-) points tentatively to be raised: should public transport companies be run like any other private company (seeing as public transport could very well be a public good -if left to the market we wouldn't get enough of it, particularly in the areas where there would be low ridership, potentially areas where people cannot afford to own alternative means of transport, like cars); how should government/city administrations regulate public transport; should public transport be subsidised (yes! crieth the bus-taker who doesn't pay taxes.); and how much competition is feasible in a single market (none? perhaps it is most efficient to have the people who own the buses own the trains and the taxis as well? integrated systems, anyone?).

if this is the paper that gets written, it'll wind up being a policy options paper ("how much should governments interfere with the market for public transport?") and of course the hardest part for me will be to remain "impartial" between different policy options. good ol' argumentative me will probably wind up backing one policy to the hilt anyway, and failing the class miserably, thereby failing to graduate with an economics AB and having my scholarship revoked, and owing PSC bazillions of dollars. let us hope not.

opinions would be much appreciated below. :) (as would any alternative paper topics for an 'Urban Policies' class.)


At 5:19 AM, April 12, 2005, Blogger paul said...

I have this argument a lot, and I'm definitely in favor of more public transport paid for by the govt, esp in Chicago. I think a major argument (controlling even) is that everybody benefits from public transport. Even people who commute on the expressways benefit when you add an el linem because that means there are fewer people taking teh expressway and traffic is lighter. I don't know what the magnitude of that benefit is, but it's a strong argument that there should be at least SOME general; revenue subsidy of public transporat. Good luck with the paper...

At 12:27 PM, April 13, 2005, Blogger J. said...


thanks :)

i tend to come down in favour of having public transport at the very least regulated by the govt, in the sense that regulation shd keep prices down and coverage universal. (this is, of course, highly influenced by the fact that i don't drive -neither here nor, mostly likely, at home in Singapore- and therefore rely on public transport to get ard.)

one suggestion may well be to tax the usage of heavily-used roads -perhaps not just expressways but also major roads- and use the money thusly acquired to fund public transport. two birds with one stone: reducing traffic congestion while subsidising public transport.

who knows what i'll eventually wind up saying in said paper though. :)


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