Taylor on Public Transit’s Pivotal Moment

Brian Taylor, professor of urban planning and public policy, spoke to Vox and CalMatters about the downward trend in public transportation ridership, which remains well below pre-pandemic levels. Taylor told Vox that the median American rides public transportation a total of zero times a year, so legislators may view it as a low priority for funding. Taylor suggests reframing the issue to cater to more of the public’s concerns. “When framed as a social service, transit hasn’t done well securing funding. But when it’s framed as an environmental benefit or as getting people off the road, that can work,” he said. Public transit is also grappling with an ongoing labor shortage, Taylor told CalMatters. Many transit operators retired or shifted to work with lower health risks, such as trucking, he said. One factor is that drivers don’t want to police behavior, including dealing with growing mental health, drug and homelessness crises showing up on public transit.


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