The COVID-19 pandemic accelerated a trend of declining transit ridership across the United States. Today, many transit agencies have lower overall ridership and higher overall debt.
Most large transit agencies will likely face a severe financial cliff in late 2024 when federal stimulus funds have been depleted. Other than the Metropolitan Transportation Authority of New York (MTA), few transit agencies have realistic financial plans for 2024 and beyond. The status quo is not a viable option for the future of transit services.
This policy brief details the second of three sets of actions that transit agencies need to take.
My recent related policy paper, “Five actions transit agencies should take immediately,” described actions that transit agencies need to implement as soon as possible for the best results.
This second set of actions, as explained in this brief, recommends what transit agencies should adopt over the next two years.
The final set of actions will be detailed in the forthcoming book, Reinventing Transit for the 21st Century, which details larger changes that transit agencies should make over the next five years.
The five actions that transit agencies should adopt over the next two years are:
- Transition to become mobility management agencies,
- Require a minimum level of transit knowledge to serve on transit agency boards,
- Partner with ride-hailing services,
- Partner with microtransit providers, and
- Provide transit service vouchers to low-income residents.
Making these changes will not be easy for transit agencies and governments. And they will require both political and technical leadership from senior staff and elected officials. However, transit agencies need to move quickly to implement these changes. With finances for infrastructure projects limited and transit ridership remaining low, especially after the COVID-19 pandemic, transit agencies do not have much choice if they want to continue to provide transit service to needy residents.
Full policy brief: Five actions transit agencies should take in the next two years
Full policy brief: Five actions transit agencies should take immediately