In his Other Views column, Michael Wilson argues that the private sector offers dollar-saving alternatives to urban transit. He attributes the savings realized in some parts of the country to competition. In fact, most such reduced costs are almost always gained through the use of nonunion, lower-paid labor. Competition is great, as has happened across our economy, but when it results in wages with which the bus driver, mechanic or dispatcher cannot support a family, society loses.
Wilson remembers way back when private companies did provide our transit services. What he apparently does not remember is that these companies floundered because they were unprofitable. We need public transit as much as we need the roads that the buses, our automobiles and trucks travel on. Both must be provided as a public good, paid for by all of us, just as we support fire and police protection, libraries and education.