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Here’s a Way to Slash Wasteful Federal Spending: Get Rid of Transit Subsidies

The more the government throws at transit systems, the fewer people that ride the buses and trains.

Our transportation expert Wendell Cox has raked through the latest data – that no one else wants to report. Here is what he has found:

      • Over the past three years, transit ridership has plummeted, mostly because the number of Americans working at home has tripled (from 5.7% in 2019 to 15.2% in 2022).
      • Transit’s market share has dropped from 5% nationally, in 2019 to 3%.
      • Despite building expensive subways and light rail lines, transit commuting dropped by about 30,000 daily between 1960 and 2019, the last pre-pandemic year. At the same time, auto commuting increased by more than 105 million daily trips. Build roads, not transit, fools!

Transit is said to be vital in big cities. WRONG. Out of the 56 major metropolitan areas (over 1,000,000 population), transit ridership has lost between 3 and 60% of commuter market share. San Francisco, the second strongest transit commute market, lost 57% of its market share.

New York is by far the biggest transit system in the country, but even the NY transit system lost 25% of its riders.

As we move even faster into an era of telecommuting from home and as we approach the age of automated cars that will take passengers from door to door at a fraction of the cost (to taxpayers and commuters) and big-time savings for commuters, the government should get out of the transit business altogether.

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