A new report from TransitCenter and the Eno Center for Transportation evaluates public-private transit service contracting, finding a cautionary tale in New Orleans among its six case studies.
"New Orleans' public transit system takes center stage in a new report [pdf] highlighting the boons and pitfalls of contracting out public transit services to private companies in the United States and Europe," writes Beau Evans.
The "A Bid for Better Transit" report—by New York-based TransitCenter and Washington, D.C.-based Eno Center for Transportation—focused on six cities in total, including Los Angeles, Vancouver, London, Stockholm, and Oslo in addition to New Orleans. "Given the risk of private companies' profit margins outweighing the public's interest, the New Orleans arrangement serves as a cautionary tale for other cities and transit agencies interested in contracting out public services to private companies," explains Evans of the report's findings.
The report's evaluation of New Orleans centers on the "delegated management" service contract the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority entered with Transdev, a large France-based transit company, in 2009.
Here's how Evans describes the report's summary of New Orleans' experience in that contract:
RTA's initial contract with Transdev in 2009 proved key to strengthening New Orleans' crippled transit system, the report says, pumping up RTA's ridership from 11.4 million in 2008 to 19.8 million in 2016. (Although that's down from RTA's peak post-Katrina ridership of 23 million in 2012, the report notes.) But the quick-fix, $65 million contract largely glazed over how RTA - and by proxy, New Orleanians - would retain oversight over the foreign company running its transit system.
The article by Evans includes a lot more detail of the history of the Transdev deal, including the most recent developments, dating back to August of this year.
Indiana Once Again Considering Ban on Dedicated Transit Lanes
The proposed legislation would impact the construction of planned IndyGo Blue Line, the third phase of the city’s bus rapid transit system.
LA Freeway Ramp ‘Quietly Canceled’
A 2018 lawsuit forced Metro and Caltrans to do full environmental reviews of the project, leading to its cancellation.
LA’s ‘Spongy’ Infrastructure Captured Almost 9 Billion Gallons of Water
The city is turning away from stormwater management practices that shuttle water to the ocean, building infrastructure that collects and directs it underground instead.
Micromobility Operators Call for Better Links to Transit
For shared mobility to succeed, systems must tap into the connectivity and funding potential offered by closer collaboration with public transit.
Retaining Transit Workers Is About More Than Wages
An analysis of California transit employees found a high rate of burnout among operators who face unpredictable work schedules, high housing costs, and occasional violence.
California's Stormwater Potential
A new study reveals that if California could collect and treat more stormwater in cities, it could provide enough water to supply a quarter of the state’s urban population.
Tufts University Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning
City of Grand Forks, North Dakota
City of Birmingham, Alabama
City of Laramie, Wyoming
Colorado Department of Local Affairs
This six-course series explores essential urban design concepts using open source software and equips planners with the tools they need to participate fully in the urban design process.