Today’s Headlines

  • GM, Once the World’s Biggest Automaker, Files for Chapter 11 (NYT, NYT)
  • PJ O’Rourke Pines for Days When Driving Made Him Feel More Powerful Than Genghis Khan (WSJ)
  • What Will Happen to America’s Appetite for New Cars? (NYT)
  • In Times Op-Ed, Sander Calls Out Albany for "Running Against the MTA"
  • 2nd Ave Sagas: Transit Advos Should Rally Around Sander’s Ouster
  • News Wants to Judge Car-Free Broadway By Measuring Traffic on Manhattan Avenues
  • David Byrne Reviews Jeff Mapes’ Pedaling Revolution for the Times
  • DOT’s Having a Tough Time Finalizing Spots for Public Toilets (Post)
  • It’s Cheaper to Cross the Queensboro Bridge Today Than It Was 100 Years Ago (News)
  • Highways From Hell: Louisville’s Proposed Spaghetti Junction (The Urbanophile via
  • RE: Louisville’s Proposed Spaghetti Junction

    And I thought this horror show in my hometown [recently rebuilt for who knows how much] was a disaster.

  • Larry Littlefield

    Sander must be really ticked off to call out his former bosses. But the Albany actions which wrecked the future of the transit system didn’t start with the bailout debate.

    The Federal Transit Administration has released historical data for certain data items, from 1991 to 2007. Let me give you a preview of the Room 8 post I hope to have the time and motivation to write soon.

    In 1993, New York City Transit had revenues per unlinked trip of $2.92 in 2007 dollar (adjusted upward for inflation), including $1.30 for the fare.

    In 2000, NYCT had revenues per unlinked trip of $1.90, including $1.01 for the fare. That was the bottom of a long ride down.

    Some of this was offset by actual productivity gains, but much of it came from debt and pension and retiree benefit contributions that should have been made but weren’t. All that missing money for all those years will have to be paid back through higher subsidies, higher fares, service cuts, and wage cuts relative to inflation. And cut maintenace, given the choices of Generation Greed.

    As this started to unravel, the MTA tried raising fares. That’s where the “two sets of books” came from, because the MTA didn’t really have to raise fairs “at this time” according to the accusers.

    Fare revenue per unlinked trip was $0.86 in 2007.

    At the time, this was covered over by a massive real estate bubble and associated unsustatinable transfer tax revenues that are now gone. Because with that one-time only windfall rolling in, nothing had to be done about the upcoming crisis “yet.”

  • The graphic accompanying the review of Mapes book by David Byrne is just awesome….

  • Larry, what do you mean by “unlinked” trips?

  • Larry Littlefield

    “Larry, what do you mean by “unlinked” trips?”

    In the FTA’s accounting, if you transfer from one bus to another you have two unlinked trips even if you pay only one fare (free transfer).

    This method of counting goes back to the earliest days of transit, where different horsecar lines were operated by different public companies and squared up the free transfers by netting out what they owed each other.

    The MTA has added many more free transfers over the past decade (and even free rides), reducing revenue per unlinked trip.

    Then again, inflation-adjusted revenue per hour each NYCT revenue-vehicle was on the road (or rail) fell from $265 in 1991 to $156 in 2000.