One of the most jealously guarded secrets was ridership broken down by route. Apparently, the MTA didn't want people to know who was being subsidized more than others, for fear of jealous riders attacking each other. That too is changing. Although they are not putting all the data up as soon as they have it, blogger Larry Littlefield noticed that they did put a lot of it up in the documents supporting the most recent service cut proposal. For example, this PDF file gives ridership data and per-rider cost estimates for every New York City Transit bus line.
As Larry says, this is a document that everyone should read. For your improved consultation, I have extracted the data tables and converted them into a Google spreadsheet that you can download and play with. Since they give average fare data for weekdays and weekends, I've estimated the farebox recovery numbers for each line.
Interestingly, although there are no lines where fares cover the total costs (including the costs of the buses and garages), there are 22 that run an operating profit on weekdays, and ten that run an operating profit seven days a week. The average fare paid for weekday local bus service is $1.14, and on weekends it's $1.29.
|Route||Notes||Weekday direct operating cost per rider||Weekday farebox recovery ratio||Weekend direct operating cost per rider||Weekend farebox recovery ratio|
|M86||86th St. crosstown||$ 0.66||173 %||$ 0.75|
|Bx12||Fordham Rd. Select||$ 0.84||136 %||$ 0.93|
|M79||79th St. crosstown||$ 0.86||133 %||$ 0.96|
|Bx19||145th St./149th St./Southern Blvd.||$ 0.91||125 %||$ 0.96|
|B74||Coney Island projects to subway||$ 0.81||141 %||$ 0.98|
|M23||23rd St. crosstown||$ 0.71||161 %||$ 1.05|
|B35||39th St./Church Ave.||$ 1.10||104 %||$ 1.10|
|Bx9||Kingsbridge Rd./Fordham Rd.||$ 1.12||102 %||$ 1.11|
|Bx35||181st. St/167th St.||$ 1.05||109 %||$ 1.12|
|M14||14th St. crosstown||$ 1.03||111 %||$ 1.14|
Some things I noted:
- All the routes except the B74 have multiple transfer points to the subway.
- Four Manhattan crosstown routes (the rest of the crosstown routes make an operating profit on weekdays).
- Four Bronx crosstown routes, three of which cross the Harlem River into Manhattan.
- The pilot Select Bus route makes an operating profit.
- Two routes in southern Brooklyn.
- No Staten Island routes; the most profitable Staten Island bus, the S48/S98, has a 67% weekday farebox recovery ratio, and 70% on weekends.
- No Queens routes (most Queens local buses are operated by the MTA Bus Company). The most profitable Queens NYC Transit bus, the Q58, has a 98% farebox recovery ratio on weekdays and 96% on weekends.
- The most profitable NYC Transit express bus, the X27/X28, is one of the shortest. It serves Bay Ridge with a 66% recovery ratio.