“New Orleans plans to outsource nearly every aspect of its mass-transit
system to a French company, an approach that could appeal to other
cash-strapped American cities looking to cut spending without
eliminating bus or rail services.”
So begins a story in this morning’s Wall Street Journal, accompanied by a picture of tourists riding a St. Charles line streetcar. Small irony here: New Orleans was one of the last privately owned big-city transit systems in the U.S., a subsidiary of an electric utility until the 1980s.
Most people in the Bay Area don’t know it, but most agencies here outsource at least a part of their service to contractors. The most common outsourcing involves paratransit van service, but some agencies such as SamTrans outsource some of their core routes to contractors as well.
But New Orleans would be the first vintage streetcar operation we know of in the U.S. to be operated by a contractor. Did we miss one? Any thoughts on the prospects of more outsourcing in the Bay Area (whether streetcars, buses, or other public transit)?