business news in context, analysis with attitude

A story about mass transit redefining cities, and how these kinds of urban-centric shifts will affect shopping behavior, led one MNB reader to write:

The problem with Mass Transit is that it requires huge subsidies.  The Central Ohio Transit Authority gets less than 20 percent of its revenues from the farebox.  We pay an extra 0.5 percent sales tax for COTA, and then there are federal subsidies.  The city has been talking about light rail but there is really no way to pay for it.  The entire country is paying for the fine Washington, DC metro light rail system and even then planned expansions keep getting delayed for lack of money.   Even then, on a vacation trip with our grandchildren it was no more expensive to take a taxi than to pay multiple Metro fares, and a lot more convenient.

I still think mass transit has to be a public enterprise, not a private one…though i’m happy to have a conversation about how public initiatives are funded and achieved. I believe that great cities, especially going forward, will be in part defined by their commitment to an investment in mass transit, and that it has to be seen as a long-term investment, not a short-term play.

On the subject of loyalty programs, MNB reader Howard Schneider wrote:

You hit the nail on the head. The purpose of a loyalty program is to gain data-based insights into individual customer behavior, and use that knowledge to deliver offers and content of value and relevance to incentivize and reward incremental behavior. (And to retain customers at risk of defection.)

When writing about Apple’s future challenges last week, I quoted the great Norman Mayne, of Dorothy Lane Markets, who once told me that a “reputation is something you had yesterday. Today, you have to earn it all over again.”

Prompting MNB reader Alex Lemos to write:

Your last line of the Apple news beat really resonated.

Our Late, Great, owner Mr. Jack Brown always used to say, “You cant get in today’s game with yesterday’s ticket.”

We had a story last week about a teacher who gave up his educational career to become a shopper for an online service, leading one MNB reader to write:

This country never really valued teachers the way other countries did, and subsequently there has been a slow but steady decline in the quality of public education.  Something that should be revered and protected has been allowed to flounder, to the point that our elected leaders think it should be outsourced to private companies.  Are we crazy?

KC's View: