Civic Report No. 30 November 2002


Competitive Contracting of Bus Service: A Better Deal for Riders and Taxpayers

Table 1: Largest U.S. Bus Transit Systems Ranked in Descending Order of Ridership, Fiscal Year 2000

State

System

Annual Ridership (1,000s) [a]

Vehicles in Max. Service

Total Operating Expenses (1,000s)

Per Vehicle Hour*

Rank

Per Operating Hour

Rank

NY

New York City Transit

 821,995

3,840

 $1,323,55 7

 90.74

5

 80.48

 6

CA

Los Angeles County Metro

 347,451

1,888

668,021

 88.81

7

 88.27

 2

IL

Chicago Transit Authority

 302,090

1,577

492,143

 78.15

15

 69.67

 20

PA

SEPTA

 161,213

1,132

333,969

 83.25

12

 74.03

 17

NJ

New Jersey Transit

 141,404

1,682

465,096

 85.45

10

 77.84

 10

DC

Washington-Metro

 129,524

1,179

295,750

 85.88

9

 77.87

 9

NY

New York City-Franchised

 111,311

1,084

264,985

 86.18

8

 77.40

 12

MA

Mass Bay Transp Auth

 98,584

769

213,480

 78.50

14

 60.70

 26

CA

Municipal Railway (SF-MUNI)

 96,394

372

141,548

 95.39

3

 81.66

 4

TX

MetroTransAuth HarrisCnty

 86,736

1,017

213,864

 65.35

27

 85.19

 3

MD

MTA-Maryland DOT

 85,352

649

165,461

 83.69

11

 76.79

 13

GA

Metro Atlanta RTA

 83,119

580

171,340

 71.50

23

 71.38

 18

MN

Metro Transit

 73,478

785

168,935

 73.14

20

 63.20

 25

WA

King County DOT

 73,287

931

243,984

 90.32

6

 76.02

 15

WI

Milwaukee Cnty Trans Sys

 70,548

461

107,652

 65.64

26

 58.65

 27

CA

Alameda-Contra Costa TD

 67,412

606

179,054

 90.89

4

 77.47

 11

HI

City & County of Honolulu

 66,603

431

103,907

 75.92

18

 68.65

 22

PA

Port Authority Allegheny

 66,554

848

181,395

 70.34

24

 67.68

 23

FL

Miami-Dade Transit Agency

 65,821

530

150,855

 72.84

22

 78.92

 7

OR

Tri-County Metro District

 61,819

570

146,745

 73.21

19

 68.88

 21

CO

Regional Transp District

 61,036

639

193,990

 73.00

21

 71.34

 19

CA

Orange County Trans Auth

 55,527

380

98,071

 66.46

25

 66.06

 24

OH

Greater Cleveland RTA

 51,592

619

164,215

 79.69

13

 75.24

 16

LA

RTA-Orleans & Jefferson

 50,649

299

77,308

 76.56

16

 76.63

 14

NV

ATC\VanCom [d]

 49,555

231

54,715

 43.23

30

 42.76

 30

CA

Santa Clara Valley TA

 47,008

427

183,600

 110.62

1

 94.59

 1

TX

Dallas Area RTA

 45,936

441

175,286

 76.37

17

 77.89

 8

TX

VIA Metropolitan Transit

 44,415

421

74,687

 49.93

28

 56.43

 28

MI

City of Detroit DOT

 43,887

401

151,038

 96.19

2

 81.33

 5

CA

San Diego Transit Corp. [c]

 42,780

268

88,680

 49.30

29

 47.66

 29

a. Unlinked passenger trips
b.To reflect regional differences in labor costs, the wage, salary and benefit components of each bus system’s operating expenses were adjusted to a national norm, defined as the ratio of the U.S. average hourly wage for all full-time blue-collar workers to the average blue collar wage in the labor market served by the bus system, as reported by the U.S. Labor Department in National Compensation Surveys for 2000. For example, the national average blue-collar wage of $13.69 was 87 percent of Metropolitan New York-New Jersey-Connecticut-Pennsylvania regional average of $15.74; thus, the labor-adjusted operating expense for New York City Transit is the sum of its wages, salaries and benefits multiplied by 0.87 and then added to non-labor costs.
c. Includes privately contracted services.
d. Figures for Las Vegas do not include operator’s unreported profit.
* Vehicle hours consist of all of the time a bus is on the road, in service and out of service, including “deadhead” periods most common in express service.

Sources: Transit data from Federal Transit Administration, National Transit Database, 2000. Labor market data from U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statstics, National Compensation Survey and regional summaries for 2000.

[table 1] [table 2] [table 3] [table 4]