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Scott Beyer

Scott Beyer

January 20, 2020

The Case For Privatizing New York City's Subways

New York City’s transit has been in a perpetual “summer of hell.” Media outlets coined this phrase in 2017 to describe the state of different regional services, with their maintenance backlogs and decay. The phrase still applies, namely to the city’s subways, which are the backbone of the system.

They’re substandard compared to subways in similar globally-prominent cities. Aside from the recent uptick, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s (MTA) on-time rating for 5 years was less than 80%, giving it the world’s worst on-time rating among major rapid transit systems. Its farebox recovery is only 50 percent, and could face $42 billion in outstanding debt. Its subways lack basic modern amenities like tap cards, protective railing, and countdown clocks in every station. It doesn’t come close to major Asian cities, where the metro rail is often profitable; nor even to Mexico City, where I found trains were cleaner and more frequent.

Why are the New York City subways like this?

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