Sunday, April 08, 2007

inconvenient elasticities and forgotten externalities

Courtesy of Greg Lagana (who also blogs on local workforce issues at: This is a figure from his master's capstone project at CMU some years ago and shows PAT ridership trends over a period that included several fare increases. While it is always worth noting that correlation does not imply causality, it's a little hard to miss the effect of oil price shocks and fare increases.

And for those who think public transit should be 'rightsized' to save money. Here is a paper you ought to read.

The Benefits of Prenatal Care: Evidence from the PAT Bus Strike
by William N. Evans Diana S. Lien. Department of Economics University of Maryland and CNA Corporation. March 2002

I wonder if these costs have been factored into anyone's cost benefit spreadsheet? That is a rhetorical question unfortunately. Few realize that transit riders are predominantly female. Public transit commuters are 60% female in Allegheny County. Commuters are only those traveling for work. When you factor in the elderly and other groups not in the labor force, both of which are mostly female... I bet transit riders are 2/3rds or 3/4ths female.


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