NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

San Francisco Transit Strike

September 11, 1997

Transportation analysts cite the San Francisco mass transit strike as an example of what can happen when subsidized systems and strong unions get the upper hand over commuters.

  • Bay Area Rapid Transit's (BART) 2,600 workers went on strike, leaving about 275,000 commuters looking for another way to work.
  • San Francisco, like other rail-dependent cities, has made cars harder to use and rail easier, thus setting itself up for a union shakedown.

Critics contend that government-run transportation systems have no competition to keep them sharp, but subsidies keep them running, and strong unions back laws that keep out competing forms of transportation.

Even if competition were allowed, other companies would have a hard time going up against the subsidized government systems. Given the threat of strikes and the freedom offered by cars, critics say, it's no wonder most people keep driving.


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