NYS Comptroller’s Report Finds Upstate Transit Agencies Saw Revenue Drop During Pandemic

Dave Lucas

WAMC

Aug 26, 2021

New York State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli has released a report on the fiscal health of Upstate public transportation.

The report looks into four upstate transit systems: Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. Todd Scheuerman is with the Comptroller's Division of Budget and Policy Analysis.

"We saw that ridership declines for the four Upstate authorities were ranged anywhere from 36% at CDTA, up to a high of 53% at the NFTA in the Buffalo region. And along with the ridership decline, you then see there are also reductions in the charges for services, that is an important revenue stream for all the authorities. Those declines range from 51% in the Syracuse area to 82% in the Rochester area. Locally here in the Capital District, the charge for services decline was at 58%. “

Capital District Transportation Authority CEO Carm Basile says the report is the first comprehensive snapshot he has seen gauging the health of upstate transit systems, measuring the impacts of COVID-19's effect on ridership.

"We were lucky, our ridership is only down about 40%. Other systems are a little bit more. But it has created a situation where we're plugging holes, realigning resources, and trying to anticipate when ridership will come back, if it will all come back."