Friday, 15 October 2010 00:00
There are pros and cons to privatization. The pro is the supposed efficiency of the free market. The con is that price becomes “what the traffic will bear” with profits for stockholders a necessary consideration.
Public utilities and services cannot raise their rates without external review and scrutiny. A bus line cannot be eliminated simply because a CEO deems it not cost effective. While nothing is perfect, a public utility can, at least, be held accountable for service and rates.
There are also environmental issues. Recall the converting of NYC taxis to hybrids. While significantly reducing pollution, as well as being long range more cost effective, this measure was opposed by taxi drivers who saw only a narrow horizon of immediate profit.
Public services, such as transportation, don’t simply provide service for a fee. They can also be influenced regarding quality of life issues.