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NY Commuter Train Ridership Still Down 48% From 2019, Despite Trains Appearing “Should To Shoulder” Packed

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Are things really getting back to normal on New York's commuter trains - or could your eyes be deceiving you?

One look at a recent Bloomberg article would suggest that things are "back to normal" on Metro-North trains. The article talks about the fact that, while ridership is still "way down", some trains are "filling up enough to make it feel like old times again."

Author David Papadopoulos recalls how, in the Spring, a citywide return to office started to result in trains filling back up again. Now, he says, it is "shoulder to shoulder" yet again on these trains, just like it was pre-Covid. To the outside observer, this may be the case…

But the appearance of these trains belies just how poor ridership truly is. Papadopoulos admits that "some" of what he is seeing is a "function of the reduction in the number of trains that the MTA is running".

And riders like Beth Stanton have unveiled another dirty little secret that could be hiding just how poorly these trains are still doing. 

"On the earliest express trains (which I ride) the front cars are packed but the rear ones are empty because @MetroNorth won't open the #NorthEndAccess gates before 6:30am (like they did pre-Covid)," she rwote on Twitter on Wednesday. 

This is "forcing everyone to exit thru the terminal," she continued. 

Once again, it's a case of reality being far worse than the MTA may potentially want to let on.

We wrote just hours ago about how President Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill would only stave off MTA fare hikes for 6 months. The NY Times was caught celebrating the fact that President Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill will keep MTA fares stable and MTA service "robust", but the punchline was that the fares will only stay stable for "at least six months", leaving the door wide open for hikes before the end of 2022. 

All the result of "receiving billions of dollars" from the infrastructure bill. The Times also celebrated the fact that the bill would "defer drastic service cuts", as if service from the MTA could possibly get any worse.

Gov. Kathy Hochul commented prior to the bill being passed: “We anticipate there’ll be no fare hikes for the M.T.A.". She also said service cuts are "off the table".

Several paragraphs down in their article, the Times admits that the MTA is "facing a staggering financial crisis in the wake of the pandemic, which decimated ridership and the agency’s revenue".

Janno Lieber, acting chair and chief executive of the MTA, said: “Incentivizing people to come back means maintaining the pretty robust service that we have. And it also means that for the time being, we need to stand on the fare.”

The agency had previously planned a 4% increase in fares earlier this spring. The MTA usually raises fares every two years and the agency has been mum on whether or not they plan on raising fares between the 6 month and 2 year period. 

Lieber said that the MTA was “taking fare hikes off the table for at least six months and maybe well beyond that.”

As we said hours ago, "maybe" we'll just check back in six months…


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