Public Transportation Waste – Government Subsidies Lost


It seems that everywhere I travel in the city, I see public transportation waste. Just today I was sitting in one of the Starbucks that I frequent and I noticed a city bus go by with only five riders. It seemed that a bus went by every 15 or 20 minutes. The most riders I saw on any of the busses passing by over the next two hours was seven.

Public-Transportation-ExpenseTake a look at how our city government is wasting the tax dollars that we give them to transport a few riders around town. When you figure the cost of the bus, maintenance on that bus, fuel, drivers’ salaries, benefits, etc. I think we can agree that the cost of running public transportation buses can get enormous.

To offset these costs, the city/county charges each rider a fee to ride. I’m sure that income is supposed to help the bottom line, but according to calculations, each rider pays just $1.25 each. Keeping this in mind, during the two hours that I watched buses pass by Starbucks, counting all of the passengers at $1.25 each, the city/county collected $48.75 to apply to overhead costs. It’s no wonder that our city/county governments are continually complaining that they don’t have enough of our tax dollars to operate.

The city bus system is subsidized by the federal government to the tune of 85% of total operating costs. It is safe to say that your tax dollars are not being spent well in the area of public transportation.

I would propose that instead of the 47-passenger buses we currently use, nine-passenger vans should be used instead. The cost of the van would be much less than the large buses and the operation expenses would also be less. The smaller vehicle would alleviate the traffic hold up caused by the larger empty busses. The smaller vehicles would be easier to heat and cool as well, and they would be equipped with seatbelts for added safety. In addition to utilizing some smaller, less expensive vehicles, the schedules could be adjusted to stop at each bus stop a bit less frequently.  Using these smaller vehicles and running the bus service smarter, we could increase bus program efficiency and reduce public transportation waste.


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Kris Wade

Constitutionalist and realist. Entrepreneur, actor, sailor, writer. States’ rights advocate. You can contact me at

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