Urban vitality depends in part on the efficiency of public service provision. A city that falls too far short of maximizing service provision per unit of tax revenue may eventually find itself in a vicious circle in which taxes are relatively high, service provision is relatively low, and people begin to leave the city for better managed jurisdictions — further undermining the city's tax base. In this sense, it's important that city officials pay attention to the efficiency of service provision.
When it comes to public bus service, there is evidence that the rules governing federally subsidized purchases of buses put cities at a disadvantage. In a recent post for the Atlantic Cities blog, I covered some recent research on this topic.
Tile image from Emilio Santacoloma.