New York City Subway Over Time

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Right, which was true for many necessary consumer items at the time. There were nation-wide rent control laws in place as well due to housing shortages caused by war-time restrictions on raw materials. There were also price controls, rationing, and shortages of basic food items because of the war.

The subway was also suffering as more and more people switched to cars. Unfortunately, for a city as dense as NYC, having everyone drive simply isn’t possible. So it was recognized that the subway system was an essential public service even if it wasn’t profitable. This is why it continues to be subsidized by taxpayer dollars from the state and city. The true cost of a ride would be closer to $6 but subsidies keep it at $2.75 at the moment.

It’s not a simple case of the incompetent government forcing an otherwise-profitable business into the ground through needless regulation. Everything had price controls on it during WW2. Subways were no longer profitable at a price that was affordable by most working people. It had to be made public and subsidized or the city would simply not have been able to function.

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