Private Sector Participation
As the decade of the 1980s progressed there was a growing awareness mat the public sector did not have the resources to continue providing all of the programs to which it had become committed. This was particularly true at the federal level of government. Moreover, by continuing these programs, governmental agencies were preempting areas mat could be better served by the private sector. Governments and public agencies began to seek opportunities for greater participation of the private sector in the provision and financing of urban transportation facilities and services. In addition, the federal government sought to foster increased competition in the provision of transportation services as a means to increase efficiency and reduce costs. Changes in the transportation system were intended to be the outcomes of competition in the marketplace rather than of public regulation. This necessitated eliminating practices whereby unsubsidized private transportation service providers competed on an unequal basis with subsidized public agencies (Weiner, 1984).
The range of public transportation services options known as “paratransiť’ was brought to national attention in a report by The Urban Institute (Kirby et al., 1975). Paratransit-type services had already been receiving growing interest (Highway Research Board, 1971a, 1973b; Transportation Research Board, 1974a, 1974b; Rosenbloom, 1975; Scott, 1975). Paratransit was seen as a supplement to conventional transit that would serve special population groups and markets that were otherwise poorly served. It also was seen as an alternative, in certain circumstances, to conventional transit. It fit well into the tenor of the times, which sought low-cost alternatives to the automobile that could capture