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Subway And Bus Ridership Down In NYC

From an uncharacteristically context free New York Post:

Transit slidership

By TOM NAMAKO Transit Reporter

January 15, 2010

Got no job, got nowhere to go.

The economic downturn resulted in 75 million fewer rides on MTA rails, buses and bridges in the first 10 months of 2009 as opposed to 2008, costing the agency $100 million in lost fare and toll revenue, a new state report shows.

As New York City shed 110,000 jobs in that time frame, fewer straphangers were using the system to get to work or to go out and spend money, said Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli.

"People don’t commute when they’re unemployed," he said. "The health of the economy has a huge impact on ridership."

The Manhattan epicenter of subway-rider losses was Midtown — where shuttered Lehman Brothers was located — as average weekday subway ridership dropped by 6.2 percent, the report said.

Downtown Manhattan saw a 3.3 percent decline, and the area between Chambers and 33rd streets saw a 2.6 percent drop.

By comparison, ridership in upper Manhattan only fell by 1.7 percent.

The MTA’s nine bridges and tunnels were also battered by the recession — seeing a 4.3 percent decrease in crossings. That was even worse than the dropoff caused two years ago by skyrocketing fuel prices

The agency could use the lost cash: the MTA faces a $400 million budget shortfall for this year — mostly because of dwindling tax returns and cuts in state funding — and plans to cut subway and bus routes, free student fares and some service for disabled riders to make ends meet

Overall subway ridership dropped 3.2 percent, a decline of 43.7 million travelers. And 18 million fewer people are using buses, a 2.9 percent decline, DiNapoli’s analysis shows…

Oddly enough there is no mention of last year’s gigantic fare increases subways and busses and bridges and tunnels. Nor of their reduction of services.

From the March 25, 2009 edition of the New York Times:

M.T.A. Increases Fares and Cuts Services


March 25, 2009

The fare hikes on the subway and buses, including an increase in the base subway and bus fare to $2.50, from $2, will take effect on May 31.

Commuter rail fares will increase on June 1. Tolls on the authority’s bridges and tunnels will also go up, with the increase taking effect in mid-July.

The service cuts are far reaching. They include the elimination of 35 bus routes and two subway lines, the W and Z. Off-peak and weekend subway, bus and commuter rail service will also be cut back

How could increasing costs 25% while reducing services produce few riders?

It has to be the recession.

There’s just no other explanation.

This article was posted by Steve on Friday, January 15th, 2010. Comments are currently closed.

12 Responses to “Subway And Bus Ridership Down In NYC”

  1. U NO HOO says:

    Like gravity, the law of supply and demand always applies.

  2. MinnesotaRush says:


  3. Right of the People says:

    Yeah, yeah, that’s the ticket. It’s the recession causing this, yeah the recession.

  4. proreason says:

    Well, the Bush recession is over now. Obamy fixed it.

    So ridership will have to skyrocket this month.

  5. Reality Bytes says:

    Honesty, it’s also more expensive than driving in & parking.

    Toll: $8
    Parking: $18

    divided by two = $13 each (not counting gas – I take the Honda w/ 28 mpg big deal

    ETA: 1 – 1 1/2 hrs door to door

    Compared to:

    Train: $19.50 (round trip)
    Subway: $4.50

    = $24.00 EACH

    ETA door to door 2 hours +

    Pat Bedard had a column months back that stated that when you add in all the mass transit costs to operate & fuel during off peak hours – ITS CHEAPER TO DRIVE!!!


  6. 64dodger says:

    How many union employees (thugs) are geeting the axe?

  7. whitebred says:

    The guy with the pink boxer-briefs may be to blame for some of the lost riders

  8. TerryAnne says:

    As a person who lives near DC and who almost never rides the Metro, I have to say it’s for another reason: health. With the global H1N1 hoax, er, scare, er, whatever it is, I doubt a lot of people want to be packed into a canister with a bunch of people who breathe or sneeze in your face, touch every available surface, etc.

    As an aside: I don’t believe in the H1N1 stuff. After seeing a huge pile of puke in there one day, I decided not to ride it unless I had to.

    Could also be related to the fact that a terrorist is about ready to be tried in NYC (and DC, for that matter). The subway in Madrid and the Tube in London proved to be perfect terrorist targets, so people may be remembering that. Too bad they don’t remember anything else….but that’s another thing.

  9. wirenut says:

    A small price to pay for being “GREEN”!!!! I think the picture was of a Sheehan book signing.
    Cindy is the one in pink.

  10. Chuckk says:

    When ridership and revenues are down, the government solution is to raise fares so the lost revenue is replaced.

    When ridership and revenues are down, (say for the airlines) the free market solution is to cut fares to get more people to ride.

    Which solution makes more sense?

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