To some people logistics is a chore. A necessary part of getting to the fun stuff. The vegetables. To others -- me, for instance -- logistics is a foundation for the fun stuff. Without logistics in a game, you're sort of cheating..
I hear ya. I may be able to be interested if I at least feel a reason for trying to be efficient. I tend to take the path of least resistance, so if a game forces me to be careful or try to optimize I will (and enjoy it). If I can get by with just plunking stuff down I’ll probably do that (to my enjoyment’s detriment). It doesn’t help that I don’t care about the aesthetics of what I design, I just focus on getting whatever end result I need, so I can’t even get some type of artistic satisfaction out of it.
I dunno, there seems to be plenty of financial challenge to me (in TF2). Infrastructure is expensive in this game, and only really pays off once you’ve got some upgraded routes going at max efficiency. My only “free” game so far was on Easy, and even then, making any money early on with an 1850 start was a real effort. It’s true you can get to a point where it becomes self-sustaining*, but I don’t see much of an issue with that, it just lets you become more ambitious.
* Usually, anyway. On my most recent campaign game, I had got to a point that I thought was wildly profitable, accidentally forgot to pause while I ate dinner, and came back to find myself $917m in the hole.
As far as I can tell, the only think it impacts directly is emissions, which in turn impacts city growth. It’s weird that maintenance doesn’t go up over time like every other game of this type, but it is what it is. If you increase your maintenance level on a vehicle, you will slow or halt the condition deterioration, at the cost of increased, well, costs. Of course, generally speaking newer vehicles have larger capacities and higher speeds, so it may eventually become cost effective to replace, say, five horse drawn carts with two trucks. Especially if your stations are becoming bottlenecks. But otherwise, it’s only really an issue if a given city is being held back by emisisons (you can get up to a -50% debuff to growth from emissions).