Debates about the quality and cost of transit in Massachusetts have recently featured controversy about the MBTA’s use of private contractors. The T’s oversight of its regional rail services – operated by a private company – has come under new scrutiny, and proposals to expand the use of contractors for late night bus service or overall maintenance has sparked conflict.
Elsewhere, progressive cities routinely use private contractors to provide high-quality service to transit riders, while safeguarding transit workers’ rights to collective bargaining and good working conditions.
Some of the best transit agencies in Europe, including London and Stockholm, effectively use competitive bidding to contract transit operations to private companies. In the U.S., Austin and Los Angeles are two progressive cities that show how contracting can harness the profit motive to serve the public interest by effectively providing bus service.
Join MIT, TransitCenter and a panel of practitioners for a candid examination of the benefits and pitfalls of competitive contracting for transit service.