Report: Americans are Returning to Public Transit

According to the Federal Transit Administration, transit ridership is up dramatically from 2020 levels.

August 3, 2021, 7:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction

New York Public Transit

Roman Tiraspolsky / Shutterstock

Despite a slow uptake in transit use after the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, reports Liz Carey, "transit ridership is up more than 80 percent over early 2020 levels." According to Federal Transit Administration (FTA) Administrator Nuria Fernandez, "FTA’s America’s Open and Transit’s Open initiative is engaging our transit partners through listening sessions and a National Transit Renewal Summit to share best practices and work together to renew ridership across America."

Some examples from around the country: "Oklahoma City is seeing 81 percent of its riders on the EMBARK bus system compared with May 2019 levels. In Richmond, Va., the Greater Richmond Transit Company (GRTC) registered 80 percent of its May 2019 riders." Meanwhile, "Miami-Dade County, Fla., has reached 68 percent of its May 2019 ridership after adding 120 buses last year – a result of a re-evaluation of its ridership and system design."

"The agency credited the American Rescue Plan and other pandemic relief grants for providing critical funding to the transit agencies nationwide. Additionally, the agency said, many transit agencies have eliminated fares to improve safety for transit drivers and passengers, which those agencies credit for the boost in ridership."

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