Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Local Government: In Charge of Your Life

This story astonished me.  Some guy, an entrepreuner, wants to bring bus service to the beach towns.  He figures there's a demand, so he wants to give it a try.  Good for him.  If he's successful, everyone's happier.  He makes money and people get to go to the beach, if they so choose.

What is the local government reaction to this?

Since Port City Tours would have a vehicle for hire, it would need to get town approval. "That's going to go before the board," Simpson said. 

Any business has to apply for a privilege license from the city of Wilmington, and the city staff would evaluate what further permits the company would need to operate within the city, said city spokeswoman Malissa Talbert. 

Carolina Beach's town code has a provision for private bus carriers, and Port City Tours would likely fall under that regulation, said Gary Ferguson, the town's planning and development director.

The town council would hold a public hearing on the matter and ultimately decide if there is a need for the transportation, he said.

Ferguson said Port City Tours would have to prove there was an absolute need for the buses, as well as have inspected, insured vehicles and a certification from the N.C. Utilities Commission.

[...]"Transportation, with insurance and fuel and maintenance – it's just so costly," Eby said. "Why is the public sector in the business? Because the private sector can't make any money.... Sometimes they've got good intentions, but they just can't make it work."
To see just how uninformed our "Transportation Authority" executive director is about private transportation alternatives, see here.  In Florida, private lines are allowed to compete with the public line.  In Miami, there are 12 bus companies competing with the public line.  The private buses charge $1, compared to the public's $1.50, and the private buses still manage to make a profit. 

Eby probably has no clue that most bus lines were private until the 1960's when the federal government subsidized local governments' takeover of the industry.

Additionally, what the local government contingent doesn't seem to realize is that this person is risking his own money to provide a service to us.  If it doesn't work, oh well, but it's his own money and he should be free to do with it as he pleases.  If there's an issue with will this cause congestion or something, they might have an argument, but they're not even making that argument.  They're trying to see "if there is a need" for this person before he can even figure that out himself.

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