Blue Line Opens for Los Angeles Area Commuters

"Almost every analyst who looks at these systems (light rail) realizes they don't make much sense as a public investment."

Another expert (this one from the Transportation Systems Center in Cambridge, Mass.) telling us that public transportation doesn't make money.

Well of course it doesn't. Why should it?

Take the library as a good example: We citizens all realized at some time in the past that it would cost us individually a fortune to buy and then house our own personal libraries in our own homes. So we decided to pitch in, get a building, buy some books and hire a librarian. We all save and we all benefit. It costs, but per head it is dirt cheap.

An automobile, financial types tell us, is the second largest purchase we will make in our lifetimes, our homes being the largest. The way transportation is now in Los Angeles, each of us has to have a car. And insure it. And service it. And gas it. And be stranded and helpless when it breaks down.

But if we all chip in, we can have a shared system, and we can individually become free of the staggering financial burden of automobile ownership.

There is no such thing as a free ride. Let's pay for what we need and not gripe that it doesn't pay us. My car certainly never made a profit for me.

MARGARET OGILVIE

Sierra Madre

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