ECONOMICS OF RURAL PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION PROGRAMS

Rural transit systems cannot be expected to be self- supporting. Revenue rarely comes close to the 7 cents/mile (4.4 cents/km) that is typical of the costs of the system. Costs are high because low population density and the great number of destinations in most rural areas cause high per-passenger cost for driver salaries and management. Ridership on subsidized systems that have been set up under the Office of Economic Opportunity and similar auspices tends to be a small fraction of the general population and even the disadvantaged population. Competition from automobile alternatives (car pooling and ride sharing) diminishes the effective demand for transit solutions. Getting programmatic consensus on destinations is difficult because of conflicting alternatives; therefore, ridership is low. A subsidy large enough to provide minimum service levels to all the disadvantaged in a region is beyond what appears to be the fiscal capacity of local governments in rural areas. Few of the original Office of Economic Opportunity experiments have been picked up for sustained local funding. In light of these findings, restricting new expenditures of money for rural transportation demonstration programs to low-cost innovations such as (a) systematized car pooling, (b) transportation vouchers for specific target populations, or (c) consolidating social-service transportation and service delivery programs may be useful.

Media Info

  • Media Type: Print
  • Features: References; Tables;
  • Pagination: pp 1-7
  • Monograph Title: Transportation for elderly, disadvantaged, and handicapped people in rural areas
  • Serial:

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00141932
  • Record Type: Publication
  • ISBN: 0309024927
  • Files: TRIS, TRB
  • Created Date: Apr 13 1981 12:00AM