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Open Access Publications from the University of California

A Property Rights Framework for Transit Services

  • Author(s): Klein, Daniel B.
  • Moore, Adrian T.
  • et al.

The paper shows how variations in systems of property rights explain diverse experiences of urban jitneys and buses. Scheduled bus service entails route specific investments and cultivation of a market. If these investments can be expropriated by interloping jitneys, scheduled service will be dissolved. Property rights in curbspace determine whether scheduled service will be preserved, and whether jitney services will co-exist. We analyze the dynamics of thick and thin transit markets, with and without curb rights. We develop a governance system of curb rights that would let bus operators appropriate their own investments in scheduled service, yet would avoid monopoly by letting jitneys and competing scheduled services operate along the same route. A property rights system dispenses with government ownership, franchise contracting, and regulation.

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