Taylor on Social Service of Public Transit

Brian Taylor, director of the Institute of Transportation Studies at UCLA Luskin, spoke to Wired about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public transit services. Facing plummeting ridership, public transit agencies have cut services significantly to stay afloat. According to Taylor, transit usually serves two sets of people: those going into busy downtown areas and those who don’t have other transportation options. During the pandemic, ridership has declined among the first group due to stay-at-home orders, fears about transit as a vector for spread and the shift to remote work for many companies. As a result, the burden of public transit cuts has fallen on the people who need the system most, such as essential workers in the grocery, retail and health care sectors who continue to rely on public transit during the pandemic. “The social service aspect of public transit is even more prominent than it was before,” Taylor said.

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