Transit ridership is declining, and that decline appears to be accelerating. Nationally, ridership declined by 4.4 percent between 2014 and 2016 and by 4.5 percent in the first six months in 2017 compared with the same period in 2016.
Despite these losses, transit agency CEOs get paid staggering amounts of money. Here’s a few examples.
- Los Angeles Metro lost 10.5 percent of its riders from 2014 to 2016, and another 5.8 percent in the first six months of 2017. Yet the agency’s CEO pulls down a salary of more than $430,000, plus nearly $48,000 in benefits.
- San Francisco BART ridership has been flat for the last several years, and it lost 4.9 percent of its riders in the first half of 2017. Its CEO collected $498,000 in pay and benefits in 2016.
- Even better paid was the CEO of San Mateo County Transit, who also runs the commuter trains between San Jose and San Francisco. From 2014 to 2016, SamTrans lost 4 percent of its riders and another 7.6 percent in 2017, while CalTrains ridership has been flat through 2016 and lost 7.9 percent in 2017. Its CEO received $492,500 plus $24,000 in benefits in 2016, for a total of more than $516,000.
- Atlanta’s MARTA lost 4.8 percent from 2014 to 2016 and 2.1 percent in 2017; its CEO (who recently resigned) earned $369,000 in 2016.
- Honolulu Area Rapid Transit (HART) has yet to carry a single rider, but its CEO will earn $379,000 this year.
- Boston’s transit system, the MBTA, is falling apart and it lost 4.0 percent of its riders from 2014 to 2016 and another 3.2 percent in 2017. Its CEO collects about $384,000 plus benefits.