Transit agencies are increasingly more dependent on federal funding according to new research

In 2019, transit agencies across the U.S. for all modes of transportation took in 32.3 cents in fares for every dollar spent on operating costs. In 2020, those transit agencies recovered just 18.4 cents in fares on the dollar. And in 2021, that number dropped to just 12.8 cents.

When the pandemic hit, transit operational costs increased while passengers abandoned public transportation for various reasons. That loss in farebox revenue was made up by an injection of federal taxpayer dollars. In total, the federal government provided transit agencies $71.7 billion across four relief packages in response to the pandemic according to a report from S&P.

The National Transit Authority stated that 852 transit agencies in the U.S. spent $13.1 billion in federal pandemic relief funds mostly on operational expenses in 2021 – a 95% increase from the previous year.

Meanwhile, all forms of transit saw the percentage of farebox revenue compared to operating expenses drop in 2021. For example, farefox revenue was 49.1% of operating costs in 2019, compared to just 19% in 2021.

Read more about some of the new statistics here.