Ridership up as commuting patterns change
After seeing ridership numbers fall in the past year, commuters are slowly heading back to work, according to a Google report.
Data collected in February 2021 showed the average number of visits to workplaces was at its highest level since March 20, 2020. Google’s data also showed people staying at home was at the lowest level since Nov. 12.
The data was collected as part of COVID-19 data collection efforts as researchers want to track if infections increase as people move around more.
Transit providers have had to make changes with commuting schedules as the number of commuters dropped off. As riders come back, service in many cities may increase.
Here’s a look at where transit stands in some major cities and states:
New York City
The MTA still runs on a regular schedule but has suspended subway service from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. every day while trains are disinfected. There is an overnight bus service.
The MTA has seen a significant drop in ridership. Recent weeks showed a 67-70 percent drop in ridership on the subway during the week, with lower numbers for buses, rail and tunnel traffic compared to a year ago.
NJ Transit has seen a 90 percent drop in ridership during the pandemic. It continues to make service adjustments.
BART ridership was down 87 percent on March 3, roughly the same as previous days. BART has reduced its hours but added trains during its busiest commuting times.
The MBTA voted to scale back service on buses, trains and ferries in 2021. There’s been no change to the original vote, which means less frequent trains and buses. Ferry service will be virtually eliminated.
Commuter rail ridership has dropped dramatically since the pandemic hit. The MBTA plans to operate its T trains differently to save money and be more efficient yet still serve passengers.
The Metrorail service in D.C has seen its service hours reduced because of lower ridership. Meanwhile, the Metrobus service will see an increase in hours as commuters are creating new trends there.
It will be interesting to see what happens with commuters as more and more businesses open up offices as vaccines are administered. In the meantime, now is a great time to start a commuter benefits program in your company. Employees will save money tax-free in their paychecks to pay for commuting costs, or you can give them prepaid cards to pay for mobility transportation like e-bikes and e-scooters. Plus, your business will save on the payroll tax.
For more information, visit www.commuterbenefits.com.