Sickness of Urban Transit

December 10, 1952

Report Outline
Threatened Bankruptcy of Mass Transportation
Environmental Changes Behind Transit Ills
Efforts to Stabilize Transit Industry

Threatened Bankruptcy of Mass Transportation

Mass transportation in American cities is a sick industry. In recent years it has had to cope with rising costs, diminishing profits, and steady loss of patronage. Bus and streetcar routes have been curtailed and standards of service have declined. Any worsening of urban transit's present condition would make it difficult, if not impossible, for the industry to carry the expanded passenger load that would be thrust upon it in case of the country's involvement in a major war.

A leader of the industry in the West has said: “Today the country generally is enjoying a continued period of prosperous business activity but transit with few exceptions seems well on the road to the poorhouse … The transit industry is verging on bankruptcy”. In half a dozen smaller cities transit companies have suspended service and simply abandoned their properties; in other cities transit facilities have been taken over for public operation. Of transit companies in general, the president of one in the East which has lost $5 million in the last five years said “You can buy any of them”.

Despite efforts of many cities to brace up their faltering transit services, and a steady flow of prescriptions from specialists in the field, difficulties of the industry are deepening rather than abating.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Dec. 06, 1972  Free Mass Transit
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Apr. 24, 1963  Mass Transit vs. Private Cars
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Dec. 10, 1952  Sickness of Urban Transit
May 15, 1942  Local Transportation
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