Fareboxes won’t fix transportation. Indeed San Diego mass transit operations are efficiently managed. But boasting about a few percent differences in farebox recoveries is a tempest in a teapot in the context of overall costs, performance, and high-priority emphasis for environmental energy and emissions improvement.
Mass transit carries less than 2 percent of the region’s travel, the trolley less than half of that. Thus on average, more than 98 percent of the public not using mass transit must pay the trolley’s remaining operating costs plus all its facilities, tracks, stations, vehicles, etc. That’s about 75 percent of total cost.
This vast majority of travel is on-demand and personal; about 90 percent in autos paying fully all of their expenses. That’s like an airline boasting that passengers pay 50 percent of operations and the rest of the public (which does not fly) pay the rest, operating and capital. Or a spouse boasting 50 percent of daily household expenses are paid, but the rest will be paid by neighbors.
The San Diego Association of Governments has much larger regional transportation and community design deficiencies to cope with than trying to leave an “all is well” impression with farebox trivia.