As the story usually goes with the MTA finances, when it rains, it pours. This was the case once again in the latest report released today from New York State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapol which states ridership declines cost the MTA over $100M through October 2009 than during the same period in 2008. Here is the press release courtesy of Thomas P. DiNapoli:
State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli today released a report showing 75 million fewer customers used the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) system through October 2009 than during the same period in 2008, costing the MTA more than $100 million in lost fare and toll revenue. DiNapoli attributes the sharp decline to the 110,000 jobs lost in New York City between October 2008 and October 2009.
“The MTA is vital to the strength of the regional economy – and the health of the economy has a huge impact on ridership,” DiNapoli said. “People don’t commute when they’re unemployed.”
In 2008, more than 2.6 billion riders used the MTA’s buses, subways, and commuter railroads and about 300 million vehicles crossed the MTA’s bridges and tunnels. Subway ridership, which had grown by 242 million trips between 2000 and the peak year of 2008, accounted for the biggest decline in 2009, with about 44 million fewer riders from January 2009 through October 2009 than during the same period in 2008.
The DiNapoli report also found:
* Subway ridership through October 2009 dropped 3.2 percent from levels during the same period of 2008.
* About 18 million fewer riders used New York City Transit buses, a 2.9 percent decline, and about two million fewer riders used the MTA’s suburban bus lines during the review period.
* Four million fewer riders used the Long Island Rail Road and more than 3 million fewer riders used the Metro-North Railroad when compared with the same 2008 period.
* Average weekday subway ridership through October 2009 to midtown Manhattan fell 6.2 percent while commuting to Downtown Manhattan declined 3.3 percent.
* Bridge and tunnel crossings declined by 4.3 percent through October 2009 compared to the same period in 2007 when fuel prices began to rise.
Now here is a sample of the report:
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) is responsible for operating the largest mass transit system in the nation. The MTA’s ridership is inextricably linked to the economy of New York City—especially ridership to the central business district, where the majority of jobs are located. New York City lost 110,000 jobs (2.9 percent) between October 2008 and October 2009, which has caused a sharp drop in utilization of the MTA’s transit facilities (e.g., subways, buses, and bridges and tunnels).
Through October 2009, MTA utilization was lower in every month of 2009 compared with the same month in 2008 (see Figure 1). As of October 2009, 75 million fewer customers had used the MTA’s facilities since the beginning of 2009, compared with the same period last year. Lower utilization has cost the MTA more than $100 million in lost fare and toll revenue.
In 2008, more than 2.6 billion riders used the MTA’s network of subways, buses, and railroads, and some 300 million vehicles crossed the MTA’s bridges and tunnels.
Through October 2009, 75 million fewer customers (3.1 percent) used the MTA’s facilities compared with the same period a year earlier.
During the first ten months of 2009, subway ridership declined by 3.2 percent compared to the same period in 2008, a loss of 44 million rides.
Average weekday subway ridership in Manhattan declined by 3.9 percent during the first ten months of 2009, although the decline eased in October. (Ridership fell by more than 6 percent in Midtown Manhattan.)
Click here for a complete copy (.pdf) of the report.
Nothing in this report comes as a surprise to me & I am sure the sentiment is shared by fellow transit advocates/bloggers. The economy is in the toilet, unemployment continues to sit at record highs, & we are not seeing any sign of a legitimate recovery regardless of what the controlled media tries to sell. So with such facts making up the current reality, it is no surprise that ridership is down.
I sincerely hope that such a report will not be used as an excuse by leaders in the city & state government for the continued lack of adequate funding for the MTA & its ever important infrastructure. Regardless of what the ridership numbers & revenue from it show, the need for proper funding is more necessary than ever. Does anyone with a clue in government hear the rallying cry? If past results are any indication, the unfortunate answer is a resounding no.
xoxo Transit Blogger