The trouble with public transportation

Moose Jaw Times Herald - Editorial Staff
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It’s probably safe to say there are few, if any, examples of profitable public transportation systems in any municipality in the world. The simple fact is this is an expensive service and, in order to ensure the fares for using it stay feasible for the general public, revenue typically cannot match the costs for the provider.

However, a government shouldn’t really be trying to make a profit off its services anyway.

Part of the reason a municipality assumes the responsibility of running a bus service, library or skating rink is because such facilities and programs are deemed ‘valuable’ in a non-monetary sense, but financial burden and lack of ‘actual’ profits of these services is such that private industry has no interest.

And so, governments are tasked with the burden of providing as good quality services for such things as public transit at as low a price as possible for the riders, but also respecting the fact the buses are funded by taxpayers, many of whom do not necessarily use this service.

Without the ridership demand, it’s difficult to justify the cost of running bus services in a city the size of Moose Jaw until late hours every night of the week. Ideally, it would be a wonderful thing to maintain such vastly accessible transportation options, but it all comes down to stretching that tax dollar.

City council and administration have an awesome responsibility, and one that will inevitably result in some people not receiving the level of service in some regards as those people would ideally prefer.

Unfortunately, there are many considerations the city hall machine must ponder when setting budgets and determining the level of services to be available in the various capacities for which municipal governments are responsible.

The same is true with municipal governments as it is with individuals: All one can do is his or her best with the limited resources available.

 

All Times-Herald editorials are written by the editorial staff.

Geographic location: Moose Jaw

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