Transit was significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the economy was shut down and people were told to shelter at home, transit ridership dropped and fares and other sources of revenues declined, in some cases precipitously.
To the credit of dedicated transit workers who kept the systems operating throughout the pandemic, transit demonstrated that it could continue providing the public with a vital service, transporting essential workers and others to jobs, medical care, grocery stores and other destinations.
Early in the pandemic, transit agencies understandably focused their attention on the immediate present and the near-term recovery. Transit services were cut as ridership dropped, and agencies had to be very flexible in deciding what level of service to retain and restore as the economy was reopened.
Now, many transit agencies are looking beyond the pandemic, reviewing and updating their plans and programs to reflect anticipated changes in travel demand while factoring available funds into the equation. Service planners are trying to anticipate the transit routes and headways that will make sense “on the other side” of the recovery. While capital project planning and programming continues, some agencies are reassessing project priorities, scopes and phasing to ensure they are targeting their limited budgets in the right areas.