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Re: Transfer mystery

Posted by BusMgr on Wed Jan 13 13:06:10 2021, in response to Re: Transfer mystery, posted by pragmatist on Tue Jan 12 23:41:44 2021.

The irony is that it had been the Board of Aldermen which had the power to grant franchises, but corruption in that board led to the power being shifted to the Board of Estimate. Now the power has shifted back to the "corrupt" Board of Aldermen (albeit since renamed the Council). Well, sort of.

In the state of New York, the power of a city to consent to the operation of a bus line (grant a "franchise") is vested in its legislature. However, the post-1989 charter prohibits the Council from actually selecting a specific franchisee. Instead, for the Council to make an award, it must adopt resolution authorizing a city agency to competitively solicit and select a franchisee, based on the franchise terms established by the Council in its authorizing resolution. The Franchise and Concession Review Committee then reviews and approves the city agency's solicitation and selection process. The city agency then executes the written agreement that grants the franchise, in accordance with the Council's authorizing resolution. Finally, the mayor must approve the franchise for it to take effect. So at least in theory corruption from the Council in the award of franchises is avoided . . . but it seems clear that under this new system there could be corruption from the authorized city agency.

The larger problem with this process is that it really turns the entire historic consent process upside-down. It had been that a transportation corporation would be established to operate a particular route or routes. The company would subsequently receive the consent of the city (a franchise) to use the city streets to operate the route intended. But the manner in which the post-1989 charter requires franchises to be granted, the city has the lead role in determining route or routes to be operated. A private company with an idea can no longer simply receive the city's consent for its plan. And there's no reason why the city should not be able to give such consent (because franchises are non-exclusive, multiple persons can be given distinct franchises for joint use of the same streets). But turning the process upside-down, the post-1989 charer stifles private initiative. Obtaining the consent of the city requires private companies to grease the wheels for the city itself to initiate the franchise process.


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