This paper tries to evaluate the productive performance of transit systems in major European cities. It makes intermodal and intercity comparisons, and identifies economies of density, vehicle capacity and higher vehicle speed as essential factors in performance. The results suggest that streetcars do not fill a significant gap between buses and underground rail.
Topic: 12.1 Surface Passenger
This paper attempts to explain how published cost savings have been achieved and particularly the impact of changes in wages and working practices within the context of deregulation and privatisation. Amongst metropolitan PTCs almost 19 per cent of a total unit cost reduction of 31 per cent was achieved by productivity improvements. Reductions in wages can only account for 4-8 per cent of cost savings while non-labour costs account for less than 5 per cent. The process of privatisation may be the most influential factor in reducing costs.
Public transit firms may be able to reduce operating deficits by providing paratransit and contracted-out services. Contracting out can induce employees and their unions, fearful of job losses, to accept changes in working agreements which reduce costs to the firm.
Increasing use of cars and decentralisation of activities will continue. The resulting deterioration in public transport causes hardship to those without access to a car, including some members of car-owning households. The author considers some ways of mitigating or slowing down these trends.
In the long run all bus systems are found to have diseconomies of scale. Management should try to reduce costs, especially by improving the productivity of fuel.
Computer simulations are used in a study of the financial effects of possible changes in union work rules governing split shifts and the use of part-time drivers.
This note gives the calculation of marginal “social” cost and optimal price. Increased subsidies to local transport may be justified even when income is rising.
The authors find strong evidence that Federal and State subsidies have the effect of increasing costs. They suggest changes to improve the system.