To Boost MTA Ridership, Comptroller Stringer Proposes Subways and Buses Run Every Six Minutes

To Boost MTA Ridership, Comptroller Stringer Proposes Subways and Buses Run Every Six Minutes

     Although New York City subway ridership has increased in past months from being down 70% compared to pre-pandemic levels, 50% fewer New Yorkers are riding the subway, and 40% fewer city dwellers are taking the bus.

     Comptroller Scott Stringer has some ideas to boost those rates.

     First, the former Democratic mayoral candidate thinks New Yorkers should not have to wait longer than six minutes to step on to the city’s subways and buses: 24/7.

     While midday city commuters wait 10 minutes between rides, and in the evenings and weekends, New Yorkers stay put at stops for 12 minutes. Bus routes with high ridership currently arrive as infrequently as every 30 minutes.

     This morning, Stringer proposed a new plan for subways and high-ridership busways called “New York City in Six,” which would offer, in all five boroughs, public transit service at least every six minutes: no matter the day or time.

     “Frontline workers and New Yorkers in face-to-face jobs can’t afford to wait endlessly at platforms and bus stops for trains and buses that never come,” Stringer said in a press release. “If we want to reduce congestion and encourage people return to public transit, we need to invest in changes that make public transit an accessible and convenient option for every commuter at every time of day.

     Approximately 61% of essential service industry jobs, such as in food, health care and retail, not only operate mostly outside of the traditional 9 am to 5 pm workday hours, but they are located outside of Manhattan, Stringer’s new report found.

     “The new rush hour is 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Stringer in an interview on “Mornings On 1.

     To help the MTA to increase the frequency of rides, Stringer wants to access some of the $8 billion in federal funding the MTA received from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the CARES Act), which many hoped, along with loans, would bail the ailing agency out of its $44.8 billion debt.

     “We need to make sure that as we invest federal dollars into the transit system, we remake the system at the same time,” Stringer told NY1.

    To provide further funding for his “New York City in Six” plan, Stringer also proposed to increase and rebalance the gas tax, which, in the past, has invested most of its income to maintain roads and bridges.

     Stringer also wants companies to encourage employees to make better use of MTA ridership by offering to pay for their MTA expenses.

     In addition, Stringer set his sights on raising MTA ridership rates by increasing the availability of affordable housing production near existing subway stations and by opening subways stations that are closed and by adding new busways.


Photo: MTA New York City Transit / Marc A. Hermann

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