Rural Transit Agencies Provide a Lifeline During the Pandemic

More evidence of the essential benefits of public transit, but this time the source of the evidence is found in rural communities all over the United States, like Hugo, Oklahoma.

2 minute read

May 3, 2020, 5:00 AM PDT

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Aaron Gordon reports on the importance of public transit in rural settings, exemplified in the article by Little Dixie Transit in the small southeastern Oklahoma town of Hugo, which has a budget of $2 million in 2018. 

The personal experiences of rural transit differentiate it from the massive public transit agencies in large cities and regions, but rural transit agencies have also been providing essential mobility services during the pandemic.

The coronavirus crisis has had a powerful revealing effect on all aspects of American life. Most poignantly, it has shown us what is essential to our health and well-being. In big cities, public transportation systems that get essential workers where they need to go have received deserved recognition for their critical role in managing the crisis.

But the transit agencies across the country that serve rural populations have been less recognized. In large part, this is because many people don’t even know there’s such a thing as a rural transit agency. When most people think of public transit they think of trains and buses in dense urban areas. And when they think of rural areas, they picture people in cars driving everywhere.

The article includes more insight from other rural transit agencies, as well as insight into the scope of rural transit agencies in the aggregate around the United States. The common thread is clear between all of these rural transit agencies: their work is underappreciated relative to the benefits they deliver to riders.

Thursday, April 30, 2020 in Motherboard

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