As recently as a month ago, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority was talking about increasing service, having finally turned a corner after years of precipitous ridership declines.
The gains were wiped out in a couple of weeks as the coronavirus pandemic swept the country, shutting down normal life and crippling Metro and transit systems nationwide as people teleworked and stayed home out of fear, by government order or because they had been laid off…
The financial losses for the transit sector are projected to be in the billions and the impacts and disruptions could stretch for weeks if not more, say experts and transit leaders who fear that even when the crisis is over, recovery could take months, if not years… (more)
This crisis points out what many have suspected for years. The public transit model is not financially sustainable in the worst of time and it may not be in the best of times after the virus scare subsides due to three things:
- Public distrust in government is at an all time high leading people to seek independence and freedom of movement.
- Financial burdens on the public health system will take precedence over other matters.
- Many off-site jobs may remain off-site leading to less commuters on streets and public transportation.