Tuesday, November 08, 2005

SEPTA Strike Illustrates Folly of Government Monopoly

Give SEPTA Workers and Transit Users a New Ride

Harrisburg, PA – On the Young Philly Politics blog, a TWU Local 234 spokesman said it all, “SEPTA runs a terrible business…We don’t care. We don't have to. We're a monopoly.”

It’s clear that the recent transit strike masks a greater transit problem. Although heavily subsidized by federal, state and the five county governments in southeastern Pennsylvania, SEPTA loses money year after year.

The Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania (LPPA) calls for the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) to transition from a government-sanctioned monopoly toward a competitive free-market collection of transit contractors.

“Rather than further centralize and standardize the SEPTA transit operation, let’s consider ways it can be subdivided into more manageable segments,” explained LPPA Chair David Jahn. “We can then explore contracting the operation and maintenance of those segments to private organizations with the current budgets. Now we offer those organizations a profitable opportunity. Find ways to maintain service, to reduce costs and then split the savings 50-50 with the taxpayers.”

SEPTA rider and Libertarian candidate James Babb continued, “We need to first assess what types of segments make sense – transit corridors, geographic regions, type of transit, etcetera. Next we entertain proposals and select those that should exceed current service standards for managing those segments. Perhaps even SEPTA union members would want to go from employees to owner-employees.”

This level of contracted operations management could drastically improve service if it did nothing other than reduce the frequency of strikes. But, are there other benefits?

Jahn continued, “The 50-50 split is certainly an incentive, but why stop there? If the transit assets themselves were offered in lieu of the 50-50 split, imagine just one possibility. Since workers mostly travel from 5 AM to 9 PM, then portions of the transit system could be used to move goods from 9 PM to 5 AM. Private organizations will be constantly looking for greater efficiencies and innovations like this, but a government monopoly rarely does. Everyone benefits when we put this one-size-fits-all government monopoly on the next train out of town.”
Libertarian Party of Pennsylvania
3863 Union Deposit Road #223
Harrisburg, PA 17109
1-800-774-4487
www.lppa.org

For Immediate Release:
Date: 11/8/05

For more information contact:
Doug Leard (Media Relations) or David Jahn (Chair) at 1-800-R-RIGHTS

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