PAT Revamp: Not Enough to Make Costs Competitive

Late last week word came of the overhaul the Port Authority will begin to implement in order to make the system more efficient and attractive to riders. Faster speeds, fewer stops, easier identification of routes, pre-paid fares, etc. are all parts of the plan.

Ultimately, the goal is to boost ridership (the Authority’s consultant estimates 11% according to published reports) and cut costs (again, the same published report says a 16% estimated reduction).

Here’s the interesting thing about the cost reduction, should it occur: the consultant’s peer agency comparison on operating costs per passenger found that PAT was the highest at $4.37-the peer average was $3.24 (a 35% difference) with Buffalo ($4.07) and Milwaukee ($2.62) bracketing the group.

If the 16% cut is achieved and PAT’s operating cost per passenger falls to $3.67, it would still at the top of the peer group (assuming all the peers remain static) with only Buffalo higher than PAT. It would make PAT more in line with Baltimore and Seattle (both at $3.64) but well above other comparables.