NJ Transit at Trenton Transit Center Report Essential Service

May 2020

Essential Service

Solving the operating funding crisis for the region’s mass transit

At a time when the region faces a deep recession and the future viability of the transit system is at risk, there are no good options for cutting costs or replacing lost passenger revenues. Here’s what we recommend.

The Current State of Our Public Transit’s Finances

MTA sign Covid corona

Ridership decreases on NYC regional mass transit systems post COVID-19:

  • MTA subways: -92%
  • PATH: -95%
  • MTA buses: -81%
  • NJ Transit buses: -93%
  • Staten Island Ferry: -90%
  • NYC Ferry: -90%
  • Metro-North: -95%
  • LIRR: -97%
  • NJ Transit commuter rail: -98%
  • Amtrak NEC: -95%

Options for Solving the Financial Crisis

MTA Covid19 Cleaning

Transit agencies' service reductions, May 2020

NYC TransitEssential Service Plan in place, subway service shut down between 1:00 am and 5:00 am and replaced by subsidized for hire vehicle trips, certain subways lines discontinued, bus service reduced
NJ TransitSunday schedule running daily on trains, bus service reduced
Metro-NorthHourly trains instead of more frequent service
LIRROne to three trains per hour instead of more frequent service
PATHReduction in service using modified weekday and weekend schedule

Transit capital plans

AgencyTimeframe BudgetFunding SourcesPriorities
MTA2020-2024$51.5 billionNY State and City, bonds, NYC congestion pricing program (needs federal approval), toll revenue, tax on high-end real estate, internet sales tax, federal grants Station accessibility, signal upgrades, new buses and trains, new service (2nd Ave Subway, East Side Access, etc.)
Port Authority2017-2026$37 billionbonded bridges and tunnel revenue, airport fees, federal grants, and public-private partnershipsPABT replacement, LaGuardia Redevelopment, JFK redevelopment, PATH Extension to Newark Airport, Newark Airtrain and terminal redevelopments, Hudson Tunnel Project
NJ Transit*2021-2025TBDTransportation Trust Fund (Motor Fuel Tax, Petroleum Products Gross Receipts tax, NJ Turnpike Tolls), Federal GrantsNew buses and rolling stock, Hudson/Bergen line extensions, system expansion, facility modernization, other priorities TBD

*NJ Transit’s capital plan proposal has not been publicly released and is subject to change

Without Federal support and stable transit agencies, the road to recovery from the pandemic will be much more arduous and painful, with far-reaching impacts well beyond the New York City region.

Next Steps and Recommendations


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