After the latest round of embarrassing subway delays and breakdowns, Governor Cuomo has brought back one of the state's more competent public-sector managers, Joseph Lhota, as chairman of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, announced a state of emergency for the system, and offered 3 prizes of $1 million each for ideas on how to fix it.
My own solution for the problem is the same one expressed back on April 16, 2002, in the first editorial of the New York Sun, and expressed again ten years later, here at FutureOfCapitalism, back on October 29, 2012: sell the subway, in pieces, to private operators, and let them compete on the basis of safety, reliability, comfort, cleanliness, and price.
Now, one might say that I've been pushing the subway privatization idea for 15 years and haven't made any progress in advancing the idea to fruition. Fair enough. But the city and state have been pursuing their own fantasy of a well functioning government-owned-and-run subway system for 15 years, and look what they have produced. It has degenerated to the point of what even the politicians themselves concede is an emergency. Had the politicians pursued the privatization course back in 2002, or even in 2012, rather than dismissing it or rejecting it, it's certainly possible that the city's transit riders would be in a better place today.