Independence Privatizes Its Bus Services
I saw this excellent story on Tony’s Kansas City. Independence, Mo., is privatizing bus and transit services within the city. The Independence City Council has decided to contract with a private bus operator to meet the city’s transit needs, and I think that is great. (The city intends to maintain some service from ATA, the Kansas City public transit provider, so this is not a 100 percent privatization. But it is close.)
I look forward to seeing how this works out for the city and its residents. I am confident it is going to work out great. In our policy study on public-private partnerships for Missouri transportation, we discussed these options for transit at length (see Section VII, pages 32-36). There are many examples of successful transit privatization efforts in the United States, including Las Vegas and Denver. Here is a key finding from Wendell Cox, a local authority on transit and highways, as quoted in the policy study (note: competitive contracting is a common form of privatization):
Competitive contracting has produced positive results for transit agencies in the United States and abroad. The quality of competitively bid transit has been found to be equal to or better than that provided previously, and ridership has generally risen as cost savings allow for expanded service. According to Wendell Cox, direct savings from competitive contracting have ranged from 14 to 52 percent, with an average of 30 percent, over the former non-competitive service in cities that have competitively contracted out at least 10 percent of their service.
After this transit privatization works out to everyone’s benefit, I hope Independence can privatize a few more things. To their additional credit, at least the golf courses in the city are all privately operated.