Railroads: Buying Off the Commuters

Why any hapless commuter would want to bump to work on the wheezing New York, Susquehanna & Western Railroad defies reason. Dusty seats, dirty floors, sooty windows, one toilet, no towels, no drinking water—that is what he gets. But 200 oldtime commuters (average age: 55) who prefer such rigors to taking buses or their own cars ride the 36-mile commuter run from New Jersey's bedroom suburbs to North Bergen, where buses hook up with Manhattan. Last year the line collected $47,289 in revenues from passengers—and lost $200,000 on them. Former owners did everything...

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