Sunday, April 17, 2022

Free Riders

I am sure most of you are aware of what economists call the "free rider" problem: if a service has no user cost, there will be people who will get the benefits of the service while contributing nothing to defray the costs.  In some cases, the overall benefit to a society is so large that a few "free riders" are not a problem. 

4/12/22 New York Post reports on a literal free rider problem: Seattle's light rail system which has no turnstiles or other methods of collecting revenue from riders.  They used to verify the riders had paid for the ride (although the article does not explain how) but at its core it became an honor system.  Why?
"By one measurement, as many as a staggering 70% of all passengers are free riders. But even that is only an estimate as there is almost no fare enforcement. Sound Transit did away with fare enforcement officers after a study revealed people of color were disproportionately getting fined."
Systemic racism!  White people honored the system.  Others just stuck residents of the area with higher property, sales, and auto registration fees and contributed nothing.

The core problem, as explained by a weirdo (Republican member of King County council):
"“What we’re seeing here in Seattle is the systemic decriminalization of everything, all the way from farebox recovery to failure to register as a sex offender, and using the guise of equity and social justice so that there isn’t any enforcement of laws,” said Dunn, “And what you get is higher crime and more evasion.”"

I am sure progressives will respond that people of color are poor because of racism and should not feel obligated to pay for the ride.  But not every person of color is poor and there are poor white people.  (Privileged whites can now withdraw in horror at this insult to their core dogma.)

Somehow, our society has either persuaded people of color that they have a right to take advantage of whites, or their culture has persuaded them that a honor system does not apply to them.

Systemic racism exists?  Yes, I guess it does but not in the direction privileged whites want to believe.

1 comment:

  1. A transit system where few people pay the fare will either collapse because it can't pay for itself or be forced to increase fares on those who still pay. I suspect that transit riders are generally poorer and more likely to be black or Hispanic. So, ironically, the policy could end up hurting the people it's supposed to "help"