On Saturday morning, the New York City subway system, once a bastion of civic pride, seemed a bit like a battleground.
An estimated 200,000 people were taking advantage of the New Year’s Eve rush, and they were mostly standing in lines for the long, drawn-out commute.
And yet the vast majority of the city’s transit ridership remained unchanged from last year, the latest data released by the city showed.
The numbers show that more than 1.7 million people rode the trains in the four boroughs on New Year.
And while the numbers may be small by traditional metrics—about 10 percent of New Yorkers are taking transit—they suggest that transit is still a popular mode of travel in New York.
In the most recent report from the city subway system’s parent agency, the NYCTA, ridership climbed to an all-time high of 5.7 percent of the population.
That was nearly double the 8.2 percent average over the previous five years.
In a way, the figures show just how important transit is to New Yorkers.
Since 2009, riders have accounted for more than two-thirds of the subway’s annual revenue, and nearly all of the growth came from ridership on the system.
A New York State Assembly member, Assemblyman Jose Medina, a Democrat, has proposed legislation that would create a system-wide tax credit for commuters to pay for the cost of trips.
And though transit is not the citys top draw, it has become an increasingly important part of the economy as New Yorkers move out of their cars and onto public transportation.
“New York City is a transportation hub for a city of more than three million people, and transit has become a critical part of our transportation system,” Medina said.
“Our transit system is very good at taking passengers from one place to another, and that is what we want to keep it doing.”
New York is not alone in this dynamic.
The other three major U.S. cities with large populations that rely on transit to get around are Los Angeles, Chicago and Washington, D.C. But the average New Yorker, after all, has less than 20 percent of their income coming from transportation.
A new report from a team of researchers at the City University of New York found that, on average, the average American households does not have the money to pay their transportation bills.
Even though it costs $3,000 to get to work each year, that amount can add up fast for a person who lives in a neighborhood with fewer than 30,000 residents.
The average household in a single-family home, for example, spends $3.65 per day on transportation, according to the report.
“The average American household spends $7,000 on transportation each year,” the authors wrote.
The report also found that only about 30 percent of people who live in urban areas can afford to cover their transportation costs.
Even more surprising, the authors found that the vast bulk of households living in the suburbs don’t have the funds to cover those costs, either.
“We were surprised that so many people living in suburbs do not have sufficient disposable income to pay transit passes and other transit costs,” said Chris Pramas, one of the authors of the report, in a statement.
“If New Yorkers can’t afford to use transit, how can they afford to live in neighborhoods that don’t offer public transit?
In addition, the city is one of just six U.