There have been lots of articles about the WRTA and its financial situation. I’ve found them frustrating because they don’t put the numbers in a context where they make sense to me. At long last, the WRTA administrator’s report has been posted online [PDF], and from that I’ve made some notes to help me out. Here are the notes; please let me know if there are any errors and I’ll correct them.
- Massachusetts has 15 regional transit authorities.
- The Worcester Regional Transit Authority has 37 members and a service area of half a million people. Worcester city has a 40% vote on the WRTA advisory board.
- For FY2018 the WRTA anticipated a $1.1 million deficit, so June 2017 made service cuts and increased fares for the first time in 8 years. We saw ridership drop 13%. (Nationally bus ridership has dropped 10% lately.) We may still have a $200k shortfall.
- Here’s a financial breakdown for FY18. Total operating costs are estimated at $25.7 million. 22% of this is paid by the federal government, 44% by the state government, 18% by the local governments, and 15% from fares.
- Massachusetts is keeping its WRTA funding the same for FY19, so we anticipate a $900k deficit. Which is to say a 4% deficit. The current proposal is to cut service beginning this summer.