MBTA ridership down 90+ percent

Written by David C. Lester, Managing Editor
The MBTA is looking to build a third track between West Natick and Wellesley Farms.

It’s a sad tale that is spreading around the world to just about all modes of public transportation – ridership plunging due to COVID-19. Most of the world’s airlines are on the brink of financial collapse, few people are riding Amtrak, transit agencies are running mostly empty buses and trains, and even Uber is asking customers to stay at home and not call. And, when we see ridership drops of over 90 percent, the carriers are not far from being able to say that “all of our riders are gone.”

The Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA) has seen ridership plummet by over 90 percent since the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak, the Boston Herald reports. The commuter rail division of MBTA has has a 99 percent drop in ridership, which is indeed close to “no passengers at all.” By June 30, MBTA’s revenue will have dropped by $230 million. June 30 is the end of MBTA’s fiscal year. Thankfully, though, the agency will see about $840 million from the CARES Act.

In addition to feeling the economic impacts of extremely low ridership, MBTA itself has suffered from coronavirus among its staff. The Boston Herald reports the following personnel impacts on MBTA:

  • Seventy active coronavirus cases among employees
  • Forty-one bus operators
  • Three subway motorpersons
  • Three trolley motorpersons
  • Three bus inspectors
  • Two rail repair personnel
  • Two police officers

The Herald also reports the $840 million will be used for the following at MBTA:

  • Costs to operate and maintain service
  • Coronavirus-driven lost revenue
  • More personal protection equipment
  • Administrative leave compensation for those employees staying at home
  • Five employees have recovered after having coronavirus and one employee has died

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Categories: Commuter/Regional, Passenger, Railroad News, Rapid Transit/Light Rail
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