Private entrepreneurs suplement tax subsidized public transit

COST Commentary: Below are two of a growing number of stories about the effectiveness of private, profit seeking entrepreneurs in serving a number of transportation niches which have been and are still precluded by regulations in many cities. The regulations are clearly biased to protect highly tax subsidized public transit and highly unionized taxi’s.

The first story is an inspirational story of Hector Rickets’ more than 20 year battle with bureaucracies and self serving organizations and elected officials to pursue his dream of a private transportation van company to serve the greater good of New York City and area citizens.

The second article is about a Clayton, Georgia private bus company which took over the transportation needs of people when a huge money loosing public transit route was canceled.

These stories provide a glimpse of possible sustainable transportation solutions to supplement or replace portions of current public transit which is highly taxpayer subsidized and not sustainable.

The Power of One Entrepreneur (Click here for full story)
Hector Ricketts, Transportation Entrepreneur

by Robert Heisler, A Publication of The Institute for Justice, July 2010


No one calls him Hector.

Not the drivers and owners of commuter vans—an industry he kept afloat in New York City by overcoming entrenched political opposition and harassment by enforcement agencies.

Not the 40,000 or more passengers who get to and from work each day using the commuter vans he helped organize in Queens and New York City’s other four boroughs.

Not the owners of businesses like the Visiting Nurse Service of Staten Island or Hybrid Advertising in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, that could not operate without the van service that brings workers to
clients or creates a market for advertisers to promote their own enterprise. Not the owners and employees of businesses that took root and thrived in the protective shadow of the van business, businesses that serve ethnic groups on their journey to prosperity that is the story of New York City.
When people speak of Hector Ricketts, it’s always Mr. Ricketts—not in deference to some great power or control he has that raises his status above them, but because they simply want to reflect the respect with which he has treated them, their hard work and their dreams.

Hector Ricketts is the most practical of dreamers. He is an entrepreneur: someone who saw a need, turned it into an opportunity, applied his own hard work, intelligence and personality, and shared his success with others—all the while facing down a bureaucracy full of barriers to build more opportunity and more success for himself and for many others. He has been an entrepreneurial army of one for his business and his community for nearly 20 years. He has learned to speak the language of New York City politics to serve the hundreds of people who own or drive vans and the tens of thousands citywide who use vans to get to work. Other van operators credit him with keeping the entire system afloat. The owners of businesses that developed with the support of the van business—garages, restaurants and an advertising agency, among many others—credit him with giving them the opportunity to work for themselves, provide jobs and deliver needed services to the community.

To do all of this, Hector Ricketts fought City Hall and won. But his fight is not over and he knows that to secure that victory, his economic and social impact must continue to grow. Despite significant progress toward establishing the commuter van industry in New York City, the struggle to stay in business continues. This is the story of one entrepreneur who makes his community a better place through his own hard work. It is a story that demonstrates the power of one entrepreneur. If New York City’s past is any guide, the future is on his side.

Private Bus Takes Over from Taxpayers

by Randal O’Toole in Antiplanner, posted in News commentary, Transportation

Here’s a heartwarming story: Late last year, Clayton County, Georgia (a suburban Atlanta county) decided to terminate its subsidized bus service to Atlanta, saying it was costing $10 million a year but only bringing in $2.5 million in revenue. Despite protests from bus riders, the service was duly ended on March 31, leaving many riders worried that they would not be able to reach their jobs.

What’s so heartwarming about that? Starting this week, a private party has started a new bus service following some of the same routes as the Clayton County buses. Fares will be $3.50, compared with average fare collections on the County buses of about $1.10 in 2008. The Antiplanner extends best wishes to QuickTransit.

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