Antitransit types’ favorite refrain goes a little something like this: “Trains and buses never pay for themselves.” Like a Hank Williams tune, it never gets old because it’s sort of true. In 2015, the Hamilton Project looked at the profitability (or lack thereof) of transit agencies across the country. New York City loses about a dollar for every ride it serves, making it among the most efficient. Seattle, which has about the same population as Nashville but greater density, loses about $4 per ride.
I really think this is an argument that liberals should try harder to win. So what if public transit doesn’t pay for itself? It’s not supposed to because we’re providing a service; this isn’t a business with shareholders.