Friday, November 14, 2014

Then When They Came for the Metro, There WERE No Buses...

So, Santiago de Chile once had a mass transit system with substantial redundancies, parallel routes on private buses.  If the Metro went down there was some other way of getting around.

Redundancy is a good thing, for engineers (in other words, smart people), but to planners (i.e., morons) seems ...well, redundant.

So they outlawed the redundancy and built a hub-and-spoke system.  You had to take a bus, take the Metro, and then take a bus.  Using public buses.  I told the story here.

Things had been getting a bit better.  (Although....)

But now (segun La Tercera) there is a pretty big Metro breakdown.  And that means folks are pretty much foo-ked.

Of course, the city will say that such breakdowns are bound to happen.  And that's right.  But the consequences of the breakdown are magnified dramatically by the hubris of shutting down redundant private lines to "maximize the efficiency" of the public transit system.  Public monopolies leave citizens with no alternatives when the public monopolies--inevitably--fail.  It's happening pretty often now.... People think, "Oh, there's nothing you can do."  But there IS something you can do:  don't create public monopolies on services that are actually private goods, like urban surface transport.

We see the problem, but the solution--private provision of redundant services, which before 2007 were legal--is unseen.  And the state's best answer is "It's hard" instead of "We're stupid."

It's like Atlas Shrugged, but right on your TV in your little apartment on Avenida Apoquindo.

With thanks to Fundman.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

This is President Obama's net neutrality proposal only with bus-riders instead of data packets...