Public Transit Must Evolve to Survive
"After years of impressive increases, transit ridership tumbled by 6.3 percent last fiscal year on SEPTA and PATCO -- and that was before the Silverliner fiasco on SEPTA’s Regional Rail. Though the evidence is still circumstantial, many believe ride-hailing apps like Uber and Lyft are responsible for spiriting them away," Inga Saffron reports for the Philadelphia Inquirer. This trend is playing out in many cities around the country. Declines in ridership mean less funding for public transit and more traffic for all commuters.
Saffron argues that transit agencies like SEPTA have an opportunity to learn from their competitors by doing things like simplifying payment. SEPTA should also take declining ridership as motivation to improve service through proven best practices (like all-door boarding and removing little-used stops on bus routes) Saffron suggests.