For those who don't know, a little back history. Seven of the original trolley and omnibus companies that first introduced service to the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens over a century ago were still in existence in 2005, but they were pale shadows of their former selves, operating buses on specific routes under monopolies granted by the New York City Department of Transportation. Since the introduction of free subway-bus transfers in 1997 and unlimited-ride Metrocards in 1998, their revenues had decreased, but their capital costs were mostly covered by the DOT.
In 2005, these zombie companies transferred their lines, buses and depots to a new public-benefit corporation, MTA Bus. For whatever reason, this company was separate from New York City Transit and from MaBSTOA (the Manhattan and Bronx Surface Transit Operating Authority), the company created to take over the Fifth Avenue Coach lines in 1962.
The tables for the MTA Bus routes are actually a lot more informative, because they give per-trip ridership data. That allows us to guess at how full the buses are. The average fare for MTA Bus routes is $1.28. Six MTA Bus routes make an operating profit:
|Route||Notes||Overall direct operating cost per rider||Overall farebox recovery ratio|
|Q33||Jackson Heights/82nd Street/LGA||$ 1.08||118 %|
|Q23||103rd St/108th St/69th Ave||$ 1.16||111 %|
|QBx1||Co-Op City/Whitestone Bridge/Flushing||$ 1.19||107 %|
|Q72||Queens Center Mall/Junction Blvd/LGA||$ 1.20||108 %|
|Q64||Forest Hills/Jewel Avenue/Kew Gardens Hills (formerly Q65A)||$ 1.21||107 %|
|Q69||Queens Plaza/21st Street/Ditmars Blvd (formerly Q19A)||$ 1.25||102 %|
Here are some things I notice:
- The Q33 connects La Guardia Airport with the subway, and the Q72 connects Kew Gardens Hills with the subway.
- All other routes touch at least two subway lines.
- It was probably a good idea to extend the Q72 to La Guardia in 2006.
- No Brooklyn routes make an operating profit. The most profitable Brooklyn MTA Bus route is the B103 (Fourth Avenue/Prospect Expressway/Avenue H/Avenue M), with a 93% farebox recovery ratio.
- The most profitable express bus route is the BxM7, which runs from Midtown to Co-Op City, with 68% farebox recovery.