Courtesy of City Comptroller’s Office
“What these new numbers show is that the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action and that subway delays take a massive toll on our economy,” Stringer said.
By Forum Staff
New York City’s economy takes a direct hit from subway delays, which cost workers and businesses in the hundreds of millions annually, according to a recently released economic analysis by City Comptroller Scott Stringer.
The report notes that the annual economic cost of stalled trains could reach nearly $400 million dollars under worst-case scenarios, with delays on the 5, A, 7, F, and 4 subway lines being the most costly, topping out at a whopping $140 million a year combined.
“Several months ago, we did a comprehensive citywide survey to understand the human impacts of subway delays. Now, we understand the economic costs of the crisis underground. What these new numbers show is that the cost of inaction is greater than the cost of action and that subway delays take a massive toll on our economy. We need to fix our subways both to improve quality of life and our economy. This isn’t a choice – it’s a must,” Stringer said. “There is no question our subways are in crisis after decades of underinvestment and inaction. With the ‘Summer of Hell’ fading into what could be a ‘Fall of Frustration,’ every level of government needs to step up. Our subway system is the backbone to our economy. That means with every delay, there aren’t just lives affected – there’s an economic consequence.”
The analysis explores three different scenarios that provide a range of costs. Using data on ridership, delays, and wait times for trains from the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and average hourly wage data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the audit examines how delays impact the city’s economy. The analysis estimates that — depending on the length of delays and the assumptions made — the annual economic impact to NYC could range from $170.2 million up to $389 million dollars.
In July 2017, Stringer released the results of a survey that highlighted the human impacts of subway delays. According to the survey:
• 74 percent of respondents reported being late to a work meeting due to subway delays;
• 65 percent reported being late to pick up or drop off a child due to subway delays;
• 29 percent said they had been late to a doctor’s appointment due to subway delays;
• 13 percent reported losing wages due to subway delays; and
• 2 percent said they had been fired from a job due to subway delays.
Stringer said the survey shows that “inconsistent and delayed service is impacting New Yorkers in big ways and small, each and every day.”