A Bid for Better Transit: Improving service with contracted operations

Monday, February 12, 2018 at 6:00pm

City Arena, 9-255 105 Mass Ave

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Debates about the quality and cost of transit in Massachusetts have recently featured controversy about the MBTA’s use of private contractors. The T’s oversight of its regional rail services – operated by a private company – has come under new scrutiny, and proposals to expand the use of contractors for late night bus service or overall maintenance has sparked conflict.
Elsewhere, progressive cities routinely use private contractors to provide high-quality service to transit riders, while safeguarding transit workers’ rights to collective bargaining and good working conditions. 
Some of the best transit agencies in Europe, including London and Stockholm, effectively use competitive bidding to contract transit operations to private companies. In the U.S., Austin and Los Angeles are two progressive cities that show how contracting can harness the profit motive to serve the public interest by effectively providing bus service.
Join MIT, TransitCenter and a panel of practitioners for a candid examination of the benefits and pitfalls of competitive contracting for transit service.



Christian Löf, Business Strategist, Storsstockholms Lokaltrafik (SL), the public transit agency in the region of Stockholm, Sweden.

Michael McCall-Delgado, Strategic Researcher, Amalgamated Transit Union national headquarters.

Corinne Ralph, Chief of Transit Programs, Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

Frederick Salvucci, Senior Lecturer, Center for Transportation and Logistics, MIT.

Neil Smith, Chair, Tower Transit Group, London, England; and Director, Transit Systems, a contract provider in Perth, Darwin, Adelaide and Sydney, Australia.

Dottie Watkins, Vice President, Operations for Capital Metro, the transit agency in Austin, Texas.

Introduced & Moderated by:

David Bragdon, Executive Director, TransitCenter 

Jinhua Zhao, Associate Professor, Department of Urban Studies & Planning, MIT  


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School of Architecture and Planning (SA+P)

Department of Urban Studies & Planning
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