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Public Transit Is Dying

There’s an old saying that the only two industries with no increase in productivity over the past several hundred years are public education and prostitution.

In public education, productivity in recent decades has been clearly NEGATIVE – more spent and worse results.

Turns out public transit is also in that ignominious category of negative returns. So naturally, Biden wants to spend billions more on this falling stock.

Last year the federal government spent a record $21 billion on transit (and more than $1 trillion has been spent on these subsidies since they began in the 1960s). Yet last year, a record-low percentage of commuters used transit.

The chart below prepared by CTUP senior fellow Wendell Cox shows the share of commuters riding on public transit in America’s 14 largest cities in 1960 and now. All of these cities have seen spectacular declines in ridership.

In all 14 cities, transit ridership has declined since the Covid pandemic ended. In part, because telecommuting has probably permanently changed the way we work in urban areas. The only city in the country where mass transit is a substantial mode of commuting is New York.

On average, the transit commuter share of all commutes dropped 42% from 8.5% to 4.9% of all commutes.

Ridership is so low in most cities it would probably be cheaper for the taxpayers to simply pay for transit riders to instead take an Uber to work.

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