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New York MTA Seeks Federal Funding Relief as Ridership Plummets

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has seen significant ridership drops due to the coronavirus. The agency is asking Congress for $4 billion to help it through the crisis.
March 23, 2020, 1pm PDT | Camille Fink
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Serge Lambotte

"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," reports Christina Goldbaum.

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority has seen massive drops in ridership on subways, buses, and commuter rail. For example, subway ridership has dropped 60 percent and bus ridership is down by 49 percent compared to the same day last year.

While systems in other cities have cut back service, the MTA has continued to operate regular service, deemed necessary for essential workers during the crisis. However, the ridership drops come at a difficult time for the agency, which was already facing massive fiscal challenges.

"The authority projects revenue losses of roughly $3.7 billion if ridership trends continue for the next several months, and expects coronavirus-specific expenses, like disinfecting subway cars and stations, to reach around $300 million," says Goldbaum.

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Published on Tuesday, March 17, 2020 in The New York Times
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