A plea is made for reordering priorities that will bring the public transit element of the urban transportation system to its optimium role. This will mean the stabilization of the transit situation by provision of operating subsidies. Investment in transit systems must be increased and more community resources such as roads and terminal facilities must be committed to transit in preference to the private automobile. Heightened public awareness both of the nature of the transit's problems and of the objectives being sought as a solution to these problems in essential. Policy-makers themselves must reach a clear-cut decision as to what needs to be accomplished. The course of events are reviewed with regard to transit fares for the Washington D.C. Transit system. Publicly owned systems throughout the country face the same problems of increasing fares, decreasing ridership, and deteriorating service that gave rise to public ownership. The rate regulation of private utilities, and the aspect of labor relations is discussed. A clear understanding is required of the real causes of the constant upward pressure in transit fares and its attendant decline in ridership levels. The labor-intensive aspect of urban transit is emphasized. Transit management is seriously limited in its ability to absorb the impact of increasing labor cost. The role of the automobile in society is discussed. The stabilization of existing transit service cannot be achieved through conventional regulatory means. Subsidization of transit operating costs through public funds is an essential element of any program to make basic revision in our public transportation systems. The concept of public support raises basic problems such as provision for means to retain an incentive for efficiency of operations. Bold and innovative programs such as giving priority movement to public transport, must be effected to give the public system competitive travel times and comforts. The question of the need for rail rapid transit systems is discussed.

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  • Supplemental Notes:
    • Appeared in Issues in Public Transportation, Proceedings of a conference held by the Highway Research Board at Henniker, New Hampshire, July 9-14, 1972 Distribution, posting, or copying of this PDF is strictly prohibited without written permission of the Transportation Research Board of the National Academy of Sciences. Unless otherwise indicated, all materials in this PDF are copyrighted by the National Academy of Sciences. Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved
  • Corporate Authors:

    Transportation Research Board

    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Authors:
    • Avery, George A
  • Conference:
  • Publication Date: 1974

Media Info

  • Media Type: Digital/other
  • Features: References;
  • Pagination: pp 12-20
  • Serial:

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00272072
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, TRB, ATRI
  • Created Date: Sep 19 1982 12:00AM