[LMB] OT: General Rules of Government

Pouncer pouncer at aol.com
Sat Jun 19 23:38:50 BST 2021


Alex Kwan of the subways in Hong Kong:

 >> the subway system is technically an independent company, just with
 >>the government owning the majority of its stocks. But people are often
 >>unhappy with it whenever it increases fares, precisely because it is
 >>very profitable.

Howard Brazee replies:

 > It’s the only profitable subway system in the world.

Fun fact, the New York City subway system had three independent
subway company lines, all three making profit, from dates of 
construction until Mayor (and another historical Miles Vorkosigan-like 
figure) Fiorello Henry La Guardia imposed price controls.  In short 
order all three lines gave up trying to continue profitable operations
at five cents per rider per trip, and sold out to the city itself.
New York's municipal government subsidized the lines and held the
price artificially low for decades.  The city did inter-connect
what had been independent lines, so there's that. But the notion
that "public transportation" and "mass transit" is an intrinsic
responsibility of the government, to be funded by taxpayers and
operated without regard to the rewards and motivations of profit --
that's a odd and counterfactual concept of the late 20th century.

While we're fun facting, the first NYC subway was illegally
constructed by submitting false documents to the city zoning
authorities.  The builders CLAIMED they were putting in one
more pneumatic message tube to serve banks and stock brokers,
not any service for common citizens. So of course the city authorities
approved the proposal.

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