Stuck at Home: How Cuts to Public Transit Disproportionately Hurt Seniors and Low-Income New Yorkers (2012)

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The demand for public transit has risen substantially with the recession. Personal incomes have been squeezed—through job loss, poorly performing retirement funds, and increased gas prices—and to save money, New Yorkers are turning to transit in record numbers to help stretch their limited dollars further. The problem is that simultaneously, New York is facing an unprecedented public transportation crisis caused by dwindling state and local funding for transit systems. With insufficient funding, transit providers have been forced to make difficult choices—raising fares, cutting service, and dipping into reserve and capital funds to keep their systems running.

This report looks at five non-MTA public transit systems in New York: Capital District Transportation Authority (CDTA), Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority (NFTA in Buffalo), Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority (RGRTA), Central New York Regional Transportation Authority (CNY Centro in Syracuse), and Bee-Line Bus (in Westchester County). The report analyzes transit ridership, how transit systems are being affected by the recession, and how shrinking transit service affects all New Yorkers' ability to stay mobile in New York State.

The report recommends several steps that would help our state's transit systems:

  1. Find new revenue sources that provide stable, reliable, and diverse funds to meet transit demand;
  2. Deter the diversion of dedicated transit funds by passing lockbox legislation;
  3. Increase the allocation of capital dollars to transit in NYSDOT's capital plan and the NY Works Fund; and
  4. Promote policies such as bus rapid transit, a type of bus service that enables shorter commutes, while better meeting the needs of New Yorkers.

Learn more about the challenges facing New York's transit systems: