Public transit operators must ride out the storm

A decline in ridership is expected to be temporary, but revenues have plummeted. Agencies are now scrambling for funding, writes Freddie Holmes

The gradual rollout of a coronavirus vaccine has begun in select regions, but the mobility sector is not out of the woods just yet. Public transportation has suffered immensely during the COVID-19 pandemic, with many riders opting for alternatives that limit contact with others. Transit agencies are in dire need of cash, and some US operators have reported a nearly 90% drop in footfall.

Investments are being made to ensure these services can meet the needs of travellers once an appetite for shared travel returns. Funding will also be necessary to ensure those services stay open in the meantime.

On 17 December, US$544.3m in federal funding was allocated to seven transit infrastructure projects in the US. These projects intend to revamp and extend existing overground light and heavy rail tracks, bus rapid transit (BRT) lines, and in Kansas City, the Downtown Streetcar. The largest grant will go to San Francisco where US$250.7m will be invested to…