It has been just under three years since I last downloaded and tabulated data from the Federal Transit Administration’s National Transit Database.
Since the data is published every year, I have long hoped that some other organization would use the data and publish reports showing what it says, having someone else to it as part of their job. That hope increased after the New York Times used the data as part of its series on the New York City Subway. And after Governor Cuomo directed the MTA to hire a consultant to study “MTA Reinvention.” Moreover, the NTD now includes a spreadsheet titled “Metrics” with almost all the basic cost and service efficiency ratios one might want to see. As of the date of this post that spreadsheet for 2018 is on page 2 (tab at the page bottom), though it will be moving down as 2019 data is published.
There has been, however, no public discussion of what National Transit Database data shows about New York’s transit system since the NY Times articles. So rather than allow this information to remain among the unsaid, I decided to at least analyze the operating budget. (I’m not sure there really is a capital budget, since under the prior MTA capital plan, regardless of what officially passed, most of the money never actually arrived and most of the work was never actually done).