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Will COVID-19 Sound The Permanent Death Knell For Public Transit

Forbes: “During the virus crisis, ridership and service in both public transit and taxis (including Uber/Lyft) has fallen off a cliff. Scooter micromobility has plunged, too. People don’t want to get into a vehicle with others, or where unknown others just were. Of course, far few people are travelling. If they have access to a private car, that’s what they’re using. Because travel is so low, that works fine, as roads are empty and parking is plentiful. Green Bay Metro shut down entirely. What happens when travel is restored? It won’t happen overnight — many people were restricting travel well before the lockdowns, and many companies had switched to work-from-home in advance as well. In time, it will increase, though some wonder if work-from-home will become a new normal that permanently dents traffic. Many doubt that — traffic finds a way to expand to fill the capacity available. Even so, much of the fear of shared vehicles will remain. We’ll know that the virus is still out there, just beaten back for a while. We’ll be keeping it in check not with a lockdown, but with masks, social distancing and good hygiene, at least until a vaccine or treatment. The at-risk: Those over 55 or with pre-existing conditions, will remain just as cautious. To a large extent, those taking public transit will be those without much of a choice. (That’s partly true already in many towns, but the factor will be multiplied.) Public transportation has been on its way to a crisis and revolution, and the pandemic lockdown will hasten that and put it into sharp relief…”

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