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Path New York City Rail

January 18, 2012 by staff 

Path New York City RailPath New York City Rail, New York City’s public transportation network is the most extensive in North America. About one in every three users of mass transit in the United States and two-thirds of the nation’s rail riders are residents of New York City, or its suburbs.

Data from the 2000 U.S. Census reveals that New York is the only locality in the United States where more than half of all households do not own a car (the figure is even higher in Manhattan, over 75 percent). While nearly 90 percent of Americans drive to their jobs, mass transit is the primary form of travel for New Yorkers. New York’s uniquely high rate of public transit makes it one of the most energy efficient cities in the country.
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) operates most of New York City’s transit systems. Using census data, the MTA reported in August 2006 that ridership on its buses, subways and commuter trains in recent years has grown faster than population growth, indicating that more New Yorkers are choosing to use mass transit. The MTA attributed the ridership gains to the introduction of the MetroCard in 1993, and the replacement of more than 2,800 subway and train cars since 2000.

Entrance to the Times Square – 42nd Street station on 42nd Street
From 1995 to 2005, the authority said, ridership on city buses and subways grew by 36%, compared with a population gain in the city of 7%. In the suburbs, it said, a 14% increase in ridership on Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road outpaced a suburban population gain of 6%. With dramatic increases in fuel prices in 2008, as well as increased tourism and residential growth, ridership on New York buses and subways grew 3.1% up to a 2.37 billion trips a year compared to 2007. This is the highest since 1965.

With nearly 4.5 million people riding the transit network each weekday, the system is a major venue for commerce, entertainment and political activism. Life in the city is so dependent on the subway that New York City is home to two of only three 24 hour subway systems in the world. Campaigning at subway stations is a staple of New York elections akin to candidate appearances at small town diners during presidential campaigns in the rest of the country. Each week, more than 100 musicians and ensembles – ranging in genre from classical to Cajun, bluegrass, African, South American and jazz – give over 150 performances sanctioned by New York City Transit at 25 locations throughout the subway system. There are of course many more who are unauthorized performers, ranging from professionals putting on an impromptu show to panhandlers seeking donations by way of a song.

New York’s use of mass transit gives the city a large newspaper readership base.
One outcome of the city’s extensive mass transit use is a robust local newspaper industry. The readership of many New York dailies is comprised in large part by transit riders who read during their commutes. The three-day transit strike in December 2005 briefly depressed circulation figures, underscoring the relationship between the city’s commuting culture and newspaper readership.

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