Traffic in San Francisco
Traffic in San Francisco

Start-ups like Uber have successfully disrupted the cab industry and revolutionized cities so residents don't have to rely on needing their own car. However, they're also have a deep effect on public transit.

Public transportation is often funded by the amount of people riding it regularly, but as some riders choose to catch a Lyft, economics of funding a bus route is making things harder for cities. The problem begs the question, should cities privatize transportation? After all, the New York City subway system was originally built by three private companies, not the government.

The National Bureau of Economic Research released a paper that said privatizing public bus services could save the government $5.7 billion a year. The problem comes down to the need to serve the poorest communities, those that can barely afford a $1.50 bus ride, let alone an Uber.

Alana Semuels weighs up the public-private options of transportation and finds cities across the globe that are trying to make both options work in conjunction with one another.

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