A long New York Times investigative article about why the New York City subway system has been plagued with delays and derailments reports, in part:
Subway workers now make an average of $170,000 annually in salary, overtime and benefits, according to a Times analysis of data compiled by the federal Department of Transportation. That is far more than in any other American transit system; the average in cities like Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles and Washington is about $100,000 in total compensation annually.
The pay for managers is even more extraordinary. The nearly 2,500 people who work in New York subway administration make, on average, $280,000 in salary, overtime and benefits. The average elsewhere is $115,000.
I've been arguing (see here, here, and here) for more than 15 years now that the solution is to privatize the subway lines: sell the subway, in pieces, to private operators, and let them compete on the basis of safety, reliability, comfort, cleanliness, and price, the same way Uber competes with Lyft or Delta competes with JetBlue. It sure would be nice if the Times investigation put some new momentum behind that idea. That could come from a politician or politically active businessman pushing it, the way that Ronald Lauder pushed the long-term lease of the World Trade Center under Governor Pataki. But it could also come from an investor or private operator looking at the current situation, seeing an opportunity for return on investment, and making a public proposal to come in and do a better job — like Donald Trump and Wollman Rink in Central Park.