Challenges for Post-Pandemic Public Transit

After adjusting to COVID-19 protocols and pandemic-era budget cuts, transit agencies must again reorient their service to the post-pandemic world.

2 minute read

July 13, 2021, 6:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

MARTA Station

ReanC / Shutterstock

Public transit agencies have had it rough for the past year and a half, and as the nation starts to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, they must adapt yet again to new challenges and opportunities. A blog post from TransitCenter highlights three key challenges and offers solutions for how transit agencies can make the shift to post-pandemic service. "By taking a closer look at these factors, we hope to illuminate the path to successful restoration of service, and shed light on what transit agencies need from their executives, elected officials, and other public agencies in order to provide riders with faster, more reliable trips."

The first challenge is transitioning away from COVID-19 protocols. "As COVID cases drop across much of the United States, transit agencies will need to move away from what is widely seen as 'hygiene theater,' while partnering with public health agencies and other trusted messengers to communicate that transit is safe." The same goes for social distancing rules. "Agencies should advocate for distancing guidelines/requirements on transit to be relaxed in line with falling COVID case rates. States and localities should proactively be adjusting guidelines with both the virus and good transit service in mind." 

The third major challenge, the blog asserts, will be hiring and retaining staff. "Widespread operator shortages at agencies across the country have magnified difficulties related to capacity limits" and reduced agencies' ability to provide efficient service. "The need to both expand the pipeline for training and improve pay for transit workers points to the importance of high-level government coordination and securing financial resources to compensate a growing workforce."

Thursday, July 8, 2021 in TransitCenter

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