MTA Expects Ridership To Fall Flat In 2009

A few days ago Matthew Sweeney of AMNY had a report about the MTA’s projection for 2009 ridership numbers to fall flat. Here is his report:

After more than a decade of growth in transit ridership, the MTA is predicting that bus and subway straphanger numbers will fall flat in 2009.

Ridership on subways has grown dramatically this year — increasing by more than four percent — as people have run from the rising price of gasoline. The subway crowds have so far more than made up for a slight drop in bus ridership. But the MTA believes that days of increases are soon coming to an end. The MTA is expecting 2.35 billion bus and subway riders this year and 2.34 billion in 2009.

“The leveling off is due to two factors,” said Jeremy Soffin, a spokesman for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. “We grew more than expected in 2008 due in part to high gas prices and two is the loss of jobs due to the cooling off of the economy.”

The loss of jobs has a direct effect on the numbers of riders. And the agency’s forecasters expect that job losses will outpace any new riders who choose the subway to avoid the high cost of gasoline.

Click here to read his full report.

I happen to agree with the Straphangers Campaign’s Gene Russianoff when he said “I think predicting is a little risky and there are conflicting factors.” How can anyone trust these projections when just a 5 months ago, the MTA was forecasting ridership growth through 2012? I for one do not feel the growth will just fall flat in 2009. I would not be surprised if it did not fall at all. With the cost of driving seeming to become even more of a burden, drivers will continue to flock to mass transit even with fares expected to rise in the near future.

I seriously hope the MTA is not using these projections to make any cuts in service. We already need more service than we currently have so they better not pull any funny business. However this is the MTA we are talking about so funny numbers are just part of the package.

xoxo Transit Blogger

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