Transit Agencies Seeking Federal Help as Ridership Plummets
Christina Goldbaum reports for the New York Times:
New York City’s public transportation system, the largest in North America, is seeking a $4 billion federal bailout as the coronavirus pandemic has triggered an extraordinary free fall in ridership and left transit officials facing what is likely to be the worst economic crisis in decades.
The request was made earlier this week after the Metropolitan Transportation Authority saw plummeting ridership on every component of its system--subway, buses, Metro-North Railroad, and Long Island Railroad.
Nearby New Jersey is also facing a similar crisis, as reported by Colleen Wilson for NorthJersey.com. “NJ Transit President and CEO Kevin Corbett is requesting a $1.25 billion bailout to account for losses the agency is experiencing amid the coronavirus outbreak,” according to Wilson. “Ridership has plummeted 88% system-wide since March 9 and the agency has been providing some refunds for monthly pass-holders who began working from home.”
A similar story is also unfolding in Washington, D.C., where Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General Manager Paul Wiedefeld recently reported to Congress an 85% dip in ridership on D.C. Metro. “We need immediate operating funding to address this unprecedented loss of $52 million a month,” according to a letter sent by Wiedefeld, and reported by Neal Augenstein for WTOP.
The American Public Transportation Association (APTA), the nonprofit advocate for public transit agencies, has asked Congress for $12.9 billion in aid, according to an article published on March 17 Government Technology.
“Ridership declines related to the virus impact on public transit will correspond to $6 billion in lost fares, down 75 percent for the next six months,” according to the article. The APTA’s statement requesting the emergency funding is available online.