FIRST, I have enjoyed this discussion, it's why I come to Sub & Bus Talk, but too often, too frequently all I find is dribble.
Will "AR's" proposal work, that's a question without a obvious answer, but it would seem to deserve further consideration.
I've said many times here that NYC should N-O-T be a TA kind of town, especially when too much of the control comes form Albany.
Private operators inject a whole new way of thinking about how best to provide public service. In NYC folks are accustomed to service 24/7.
No private carrier is going to able to do that at a profit. AR may think so, if he seriously does then he's talking thru his hat OR he's trying to sell you the Titanic ... it has been preserved & is complete, but it's not exactly ready to run, so you better read all the fine print.
Maybe the City should look at how the subsidys are arrived at. If you monitored very carefuly every route you could ID when they were profitable & when they were almost & when it's at a total loss (Hawks after midnight). This would require very accurate input (every farebox would have to work & drivers punch in their numbers correctly too). There would also be a problem everytime a student wanted to board at the wrong time, or a correction cop in uniform carrying his gun wanted a free ride. This is just the tip of the Iceberg as to why it would be hard to get good rider counts, but then maybe folks would get accustomed to doing the right thing ... hopfuly without any drivers having to spill blood over it.
The TWU makes a good wage at these jobs, so support for any change will have to come from somewhere else. Meanwhile can the current "private" operation be made more accounable & less costly, sure. Any effort in this are is going to scare a lot of suits at the MTA. That sounds like a win win for the riding public.
Disclaimer: I don't work for the MTA, TA or nycDOT and am not the spokes-person of my employer.