New York City: Public Transit (July 2023)
For Opinium’s inaugural ‘New York State of Mind’ Survey, we asked 1,000 New Yorkers (across all 5 boroughs) about their experiences living in what many call “the greatest city in the world.” Twice yearly, our team will dig deep into what New Yorkers think, feel, and do. This enables us to understand the most exciting and urgent issues facing New Yorkers today.
Here, we explore one of the most critical concerns that came to light in the survey: attitudes towards public transit and feelings of safety (or lack thereof) in New York City. This report provides an overview of our findings on this topic and emphasizes the extent to which this problem impacts New Yorkers.
New York is a walking city
In New York City, walking prevails as the main form of transportation. Eight in ten (82%) of New Yorkers report walking as a form of transportation weekly or more, and over half (56%) walk as a form of transportation daily. The subway stands as the second most common form of transportation, with over half (55%) of New Yorkers report riding the subway weekly or more and a quarter (24%) riding the subway daily. Half (49%) of New Yorkers report riding the bus weekly or more, and two in five (40%) drive weekly or more.
Younger generations lead the charge in subway use
Younger New Yorkers are more likely to use the subway than their older counterparts, with nearly three in four (73%) Gen Z New Yorkers using the subway weekly or more. Nearly two thirds (65%) of millennials use the subway weekly or more, compared to 56% of Gen X, and 38% of Boomers.
Safety and cleanliness remain a key issue for New Yorkers
Overall, the majority of New Yorkers are satisfied with the speed (57%) and reliability (56%) of New York City’s Public Transit System. Additionally, nearly three quarters of New Yorkers are satisfied with the proximity of public transit to where they live (73%) and where they want to go (74%).
However, cleanliness and safety remain an issue for New Yorkers. Only a third (33%) of New Yorkers report being satisfied with New York City’s Public Transit System’s cleanliness, and 35% report being satisfied with the transit system’s safety.
Unsurprisingly, women are far less likely to be satisfied with New York City transit’s safety (26%) compared to men (43%). They’re also less likely to feel safe riding the subway alone during the day (49% compared to 64% of men) as well as riding the subway alone at night (17% compared to 33% of men).
Additionally, women are less likely to feel safe waiting at a subway alone during the day (44% compared to 59% of men) as well as at night (15% compared to 29% of men.