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Free lunch for all! 'Thriving' ride to Boston

Clearly, those of us who insist there is no such thing as a free lunch have been wrong all these years.

"Subsidy Ok'd for thriving bus line," read the Union Leader headline.

Why would something that is thriving need a subsidy? The Boston Express bus needs more taxpayer money because, the governor and Council were told last week, more people are riding its buses down I-93 and Route 3 to work in Boston.

And why wouldn't they? With taxpayers underwriting the comfortable and convenient (Wi-Fi included) ride, the most it costs a rider is $18 for a one-way ticket.

So if it is so popular with riders, why not just increase the fare to actual cost levels and leave the taxpayer alone?

"We don't want to stunt that growth with a fare increase," said Boston Express.

Right. If you charge what it really costs to operate a business and make a profit, the business might not be so "thriving."

The bus service subsidies are intended to get drivers out of their cars and onto some form of mass transit. The state chose bus service over commuter rail because the bus was far less expensive. One can only imagine what "thriving" commuter rail to Boston would cost the taxpayers.

If, as with this bus service, taxpayers pay to cart a small group of Granite Staters to jobs in Boston (or to fly out of Logan instead of Manchester), aren't we subsidizing Massachusetts' economy by doing so? If most commuters are going from New Hampshire to Massachusetts, and not the other way around, how does this create jobs in New Hampshire?

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