Friday, January 15, 2010

Recession costs NYMTA $100 million in lost fares

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New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli issued a report Thursday describing how deeply the recession has eroded ridership onthe trains, buses, bridges, and tunnels operated by the New York Metropolitan Transportation Authority. In the first 10 months of 2009, said the report, MTA lost 75 million riders and $100 million in fares compared with the same period in 2008.

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"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," said the report. "New York City lost 110,000 jobs (2.9%) 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)."

The big loser in ridership was New York City's subways which, after growing 17.5% between 2000 and 2008, posted a decline of 3.2%, or 44 million riders, through October 2009. The decline began to ease in October.

On the Long Island Rail Road, ridership dropped 5.5% during the first 10 months of 1009, a loss of four million riders compared with the prior-year period.

Metro-North Railroad ridership declined 4.8% during last year's first 10 months, a loss of 4.3 million riders.