More data comparing us to other transit systems around the country from the Peer Review report commissioned by the Port Authority.  Today’s factoid: Comparing how much it costs each agency to operate one hour of bus service (driver, fuel, mechanics, scheduling, etc.) (from Figure 5-1).

Port Authority of Allegheny County: $125 per hour. 

  • Baltimore:      $127 per hour
  • Seattle:           $126 per hour
  • Portland:        $113 per hour
  • St. Louis:        $109 per hour
  • Buffalo:           $102 per hour
  • Cleveland:      $100 per hour
  • Milwaukee:     $94 per hour
  • Minneapolis:  $93 per hour
  • Denver:          $93 per hour
  • Average of the 50 largest transit systems in the country: $117 per hour

Operating cost per hour is useful for comparing different systems because it tends to minimize differences between communities such as weather, topography, neighborhood density, etc. It doesn’t measure how effective and productive in attracting riders the service is, which are affected by those factors. It just tells you how much it costs a community to put one hour of bus service on the street.

And what is the biggest factor in determining the Port Authority’s hourly operating cost? Union wages and benefits, which make up 2/3 of the overall budget.

Posted by: Ken Zapinski

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