Economy could sink subway, bus ridership
The economy might bring down transit ridership in 2009 even though the number of subway and bus riders hit 40-year record highs this year.
An MTA official indicated yesterday that rising unemployment rates could affect ridership since fewer people will be commuting to work.
Next years MTA budget, first proposed in July, based ridership projections on better employment forecasts, said MTA Chief Financial Officer Gary Dellaverson.Transit ridership is at a 40-year high, continuing a steady increase since 1996. However, this month City Comptroller Bill Thompson predicted more than 150,000 job losses in the next two years, which could affect the number of people taking trains and buses or being able to afford fares.
An MTA spokesman, however, said that it is unclear if the number of straphangers will decrease.
There will be some reduction in the pace of growth, not necessarily a drop in ridership, MTA spokesman Jeremy Soffin said.
Details on ridership projections will be discussed at a special finance meeting next month that will discuss changes in overall estimates in next years budget.