Changes Coming to Transit in the New Year!
What is coming in 2021 for transit? Though 2020 has been full of changes in the transportation industry, including a lack of ridership due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the New Year is sure to bring back riders! Transit has always been essential and will continue to be an important part of daily life for billions of people worldwide. Several key factors will impact when and how transit agencies begin to see the return of their riders.
Passenger Safety – Now, passengers have different concerns when boarding. Vehicles are expected to be cleaned often, and agencies should offer contactless payments and require masks to ride. Other new technologies have been created to make riders feel safe, like contact tracing or requesting a ride on fixed routes. Some transit agencies are even using air filters and handrails made of unique materials where infections can not survive. Agencies are forced to pivot their functions and find new ways to bring riders back.
Vaccines – One factor that will change the way riders see transit shortly is the development of several experimental vaccines for COVID-19. While none are being used by the public yet, “Pfizer’s updated results follow Moderna’s report that its Covid-19 vaccine, using similar technology, reduced the risk of Covid-19 by 94.5%,” providing hope that soon, there may be limited risk of contracting covid (statnews.com).
Voting for Transit – As voting has taken place all over the U.S. on November 3rd, several new measures were passed for transit. “15 out of 18 transit measures passed”, showing great hope for transit (masstransitmag.com). Riders want to be back on-board, and they’re voting to match how they feel about transit. Some big wins include Austin, TX, which will be able to expand sidewalks and make stops easier to get to; Bend, OR who is gaining $7 million to continue building out their transit infrastructure; and Missoula, MT, which will now be able to raise $3 million annually to support zero-fare rides for their passengers.
Transit continues to be an amazing way for commuters to get to work, school, jobs, and other necessities. In 2019, “Americans took 9.9 billion trips on public transportation,” and as we work to stop the spread of COVID-19, riders are soon to return (apta.com).
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