Robinson then went on to tackle the issue of privatization. He painted his recommendations as neither black nor white--transit can be only partially privatized, he wrote.
(For the record, Denver's Regional Transportation District won a 2008 Outstanding Public Transportation System Achievement Award from the American Public Transportation Association. It also won that award in 2003 and 1993.)
Privatization could take many forms, from competitive tendering of various route choices to better-sourcing office and maintenance functions. And this isn't about union busting, as local organized labour advocates will surely charge. Successor rights prevail under labour law whether the city or ABC bus lines is in charge.
But cities such as Las Vegas, Denver, Boston, and San Francisco, along with those in Europe and Asia, have contracted out parts of their systems and realized, according to dozens of studies, significant savings and service improvements.
Robinson wrote that OC Transpo "will suffer a marked and sustained ridership decline thanks to this strike". Those who are wary of transit, he continued, will ask how much taxpayers should subsidize the service: "50 per cent, 60 per cent or 70 per cent, or more?"
He went on:
From my vantage point, a transit system two-thirds rider-financed and one-third subsidized would be ideal, regardless of ownership and service structure. But international experience has shown more often than not (yes, there are some failures – in South America, most notably) that to move to this, privatization (selected, partial or full) is the proven route to follow.
And then snuck this in:
Labour disruptions are also much rarer in privatized systems.Robinson is no stranger to privatization debates. Not only is he a former chief of staff to mayor Larry O'Brien and candidate in the 2004 federal election, two venues of public life where such issues pop up, but talking about this is what the man does for a living.
According to his bio (scroll down a bit) at the TACTIX Government Consulting website, Robinson provides advice to clients on a range of issues, including P3s--in lay terms, public-private partnerships.
Just another voice in the privatization debate.