San Diego's Competitive Transit System
People know about San Diego's sunny climate, ocean vistas, and world-class zoo, but it also has a great transit system. Why? Because, San Diegans experiment with competitive processes to get the most bang for their buck. The San Diego transit system believes that competition creates incentives that improve efficiency and customer service. They have proven this proposition year in and year out for over 15 years.
San Diego County, like King County, has a large, widely dispersed population. Its Metropolitan Transit District includes 2 million residents spread out over 570 square miles. Like King County, San Diego faces growing transit costs, increasing at a pace too quick for farebox revenues alone to cover. Growing taxpayer subsidies make up the deficit. Unlike King County however, San Diego over the last 17 years has reduced per hour operating costs by over 30%, while increasing service by 46%. How did they do this? Competition.