If There’s No Free Ride, then Ride Away
Maybe it’s my irredeemable conservatism, but something about the news that the Providence-Newport ferry will be giving its swansong rides this year doesn’t quite make sense to me:
The state’s popular high-speed ferry from Providence to Newport, a breezy way to see the Bay from one end to the other, will end this fall, Rhode Island Public Transit Authority officials say.
The cause is the expiration of the last of a series of federal grants that the authority has used, sometimes imaginatively, to keep the seasonal service going. …
Ridership hit 47,002 last year, its highest, he said. …
The adult fare this season will be $8 one way and $16 for a roundtrip. Meanwhile, the federal government is paying $575,000 per year, Moscola said, for a total of $5.17 million. The operating loss last year was $107,000, according to preliminary RIPTA figures.
Adding the feds’ contribution and last year’s operating loss leaves RIPTA $682,000 short. Divided among last year’s ridership, that’s $14.51 per person. The article reads as if “ridership” measures either tickets or people, so the cost per one-way trip would actually be less. If it’s such a wonderful ride, why not try increasing the ticket price?
Why, put another way, do folks around here seem to look at everything as subsidized perks that must be financed by others rather than as valuable services for which users should be willing to pay?