How Remote Work Is Devastating New York City’s Commuter Rails
Before the pandemic, they relied on office workers, who spent up to $500 a month on tickets. At the M.T.A., those sales are down 75 percent.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/nyre ... demic.html
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s two commuter railroads, Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road, sold nearly 200,000 monthly passes before the pandemic. In November, those sales were down more than 75 percent, to about 45,000 passes. The authority recently said that it would collect just $49 million from commuters in 2021 — a steep decline from $346 million in 2019.
Sales of monthly passes accounted for nearly 40 percent of New Jersey Transit’s ticket revenue in 2019. In mid-2021, sales of those passes were still down by about 70 percent.
Before the pandemic, Tero Jänne spent two hours every workday traveling on Metro-North between his home in Darien, Conn., and his office at Solomon Partners, a financial firm in Midtown Manhattan. He gave up his monthly pass, which cost $335, and before Omicron arrived, commuted into work about three days a week.
“I don’t view it as a reduced workweek — it’s a reduced period of commuting,” said Mr. Jänne, a managing director at the company.
Metro-North was selling about 95,000 monthly passes before the pandemic, Mr. Lieber said. That number plunged to about 10,000 by the start of 2021 and gradually rose to about 20,000 by November, he said.
After years of riding New Jersey Transit trains back and forth to Pennsylvania Station daily, Mr. Kass, 45, rarely boards a train and does not miss depending on a railroad that had become maddeningly unreliable.
“It’s the commute that I dread,” Mr. Kass said. “It’s the commute that was eating me alive.”
Now that he is saving more than $300 a month on a monthly pass and at least a couple of hours a day by skipping the commute, he is a work-from-home convert.
“You can’t tell me I have to commute into an office,’’ he said, “if I have 100 percent demonstrated that this works.”