Why NYC’s subway is struggling

Hybrid work has meant fewer riders on New York City’s subway and a drop in fare revenue for the system’s operator, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority.

The number of paying weekday subway riders averaged 3.6 million in June, according to the MTA, compared with daily ridership of almost 5.5 million in 2019. Inflation and transit crime have also impacted subway ridership.

Fare evasion has taken its toll on the transit authority, too, costing the MTA $690 million last year, including $285 million on its subways.

“A lot of it has to do with the economy,” said Sarah Kaufman, director of the New York University Rudin Center for Transportation. “It’s one more cost that people feel like they have to incur when they’re already seeing increased costs for rent and groceries and all of their other expenses.”

The MTA is the operator of New York’s more than 6,400 subway cars, more than 5,700 buses, two of the country’s busiest commuter trains, and multiple bridges and tunnels.

So when will New York City subway riders return in greater numbers? And what can the MTA do to respond to fare evaders?

Watch the video to learn more.