Transit for All, Part 2

2008 December 2
by Ellen Noonan

Gene Russianoff of the Straphanger’s Campaign had an excellent op-ed in yesterday’s New York Daily News about the proposed fare hikes, and the structure of transit funding generally. Public transit in the NYC area is funded through fares, government subsidies, and the following array of tax revenues:

“Contributions to transit are made by metropolitan area drivers, who pay toll surpluses and gas taxes; businesses, which contribute through the corporate income tax; owners selling their properties, through several real estate taxes; and consumers, through a portion of the sales tax. . . . Every one of the contributing groups gains from a network that moves more than 9 million employees, residents, customers, tourists and students each workday. . . .”

But here’s what really got my attention (and introduced me to the concept of the “farebox operating ratio”):

“For New York City, the subway farebox operating ratio – the percentage of costs that riders bear for operating the transit system – would go from 69% in 2008 to an astonishing 83% in 2009. For buses, from 39% in 2008 to 48% in 2009. In comparison, the national average farebox ratio for large transit systems was 37% in 2006, according to the Federal Transit Administration. Among other cities, ratios can range from 29% (Boston) to 43% (Chicago), 37% (Philadelphia), 51% (San Francisco) and 40% (Washington).”

Read the entire piece here.

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1 Comment
2008 December 22

I’ve read a couple of interesting takes in the last couple of weeks on the saga:

1) Why farehikes are less equitable than tolls:

2) summary of how free transit could help the MTA:

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