Written by Michael Palomba
The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) is facing some serious financial troubles. Ridership is at an all time low, which is really hurting MTS revenue. Buses are carrying less than one-third of their usual ridership, and trolley ridership is also down 60 percent.
Circulate San Diego, a nonprofit transit advisory group, released a report showing that 25 percent of San Diego’s essential workers don’t own a car, and 30 percent of the county’s highway maintenance workers rely on public transit every day. With so many essential workers relying on the transit system, it’s important that it does not suffer operationally, despite the significant drop in revenue.
Luckily, President Trump has announced that the MTS will receive $219.9 million in CARES Act funding.
Unfortunately, MTS was not prepared for a disaster like the COVID-19 pandemic, and they were very much banking on federal assistance. “We knew it was coming and we were building it into our budgets,” said MTS Marketing Director Rob Schupp said. He did add that many businesses were hit hard and “ridership is way down.”
For fiscal year 2020, MTS is projecting a revenue drop of $30.7 million. For 2021, an even heftier $102 million in revenue loss is predicted.
Schupp added that the funds are “designed to help us recover” and he expects that the financial recovery will take several years.
Like most agencies that have suffered from declining revenue this year, MTS certainly has a tough road ahead. They need to maintain their current efficiency and operational standards while figuring out how to make up for millions in lost revenue. Thankfully, the additional funding announced by President Trump will surely make their road to recovery a smoother one.
Photo by Josh Esh