Photograph by AminTorres

New York's Citizen Budget Commission released a report [pdf] yesterday deeming the city's subway system "among the most efficient in the nation." Compared with other sizable US mass transit systems, New York's subway has the "lowest cost per passenger trip," the "second-lowest cost per passenger mile," and the "second-lowest cost per hour of service." However, the subway is still the worst place to enjoy classic Italian fare in peace, and the second-worst venue to pleasure your lady friend (sucks to be you, Parisian Catacombs!).

Yet the report also graded our bus system as being "relatively inefficient," as it ranks "last in three of five cost indicators: cost per mile of service; cost per hour of service, and cost per active vehicle." The Wall Street Journal notes that LA "spends 62 cents per person per mile on it's public buses, which cover nearly the same number of miles each day as New York's bus system. The MTA's buses cost $1.25." The LIRR and Metro-North also receive low marks on overall efficiency.

MTA's Chief Operating Officer Charles Monheim admits in the story that "there is much more in our organization that is controllable than we would like to admit," and that when compared to transit systems worldwide, New York's would be "more middle of the road." As it is, our subway is a huge part of what makes New York the "Greenest City in the U.S." More "bus only" lanes coupled with the countdown clocks can only makes things more efficient. Maybe they'll invent a subway car that runs on nail clippings?