Monday, August 2, 2010

Metro and the Magic Bus

Last week I received a door hanger from Metro advertising its "magic bus" service. The door hanger did not tell me what is so magic about the service, but I suspect it has something to do with Metro's ability to make money disappear.

A business advertises in order to attract customers. A government subsidized monopoly, such as Metro, should have no problem attracting customers. After all, they charge rates well below what they are really worth and they have no competition as a matter of government policy. The former provides riders with a bargain, and the latter means nobody can drive them out of business by offering superior service. So why does Metro have such difficulty attracting riders?

The answer is quite simple: They are offering something that most people don't want. However, that won't stop them and all of their other mass-transit buddies from trying to force light rail down our throats. As is typical of government interventions, when one doesn't work we are quickly told that we need more. When bus ridership falls, we are told that we need light rail. When a light rail line is built, and fails to attract the predicted riders, we are told that it is because we don't have enough light rail!?!

If a private business used this "reasoning" it wouldn't be a business for long. But Metro has no concerns about using our money wisely, because it obtains that money by coercion, rather than our consent. Unlike a private business, which must produce a return for its investors--investors who may voluntarily withdraw their investment--Metro has no incentive to provide a return on investment or even a service that is desired.

Metro--like all such government boondoggles--is merely a means for those with political connections to legally rob productive citizens. And if you think otherwise, you are being taken for a ride.

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