Remote work straining U.S. public transit: Politico

(Xinhua) 11:29, May 05, 2023

NEW YORK, May 3 (Xinhua) -- Public transit systems at the heart of major American cities were built around the 9-to-5 model, and that old business of shepherding workers to downtown offices turned into their greatest weakness, reported Politico on Wednesday.

"The riders transit agencies have catered to for decades are also the ones who abandoned their systems in droves, and some transportation officials are facing a difficult prospect: to win back straphangers, they must remake public transit to better serve everyone whose lives don't revolve around traveling into a central business district," said the report.

However, the very issue pressuring them to do so -- a dramatic decline in ridership that's left the largest systems with less than 70 percent of their pre-pandemic traffic even now -- is also the biggest obstacle to innovation, it noted. Public transit is facing a financial rut that's spurred their CEOs to press city and state governments for new funding streams and taxes.

Despite being rescued with 55 billion U.S. dollars in federal COVID-19 relief money in 2020 and 2021 after watching their farebox revenue evaporate, 10 of the nation's largest transit systems will soon need to find billions of dollars a year to stay afloat, it said.

Public transportation executives from Los Angeles to New Jersey are warning of a fiscal cliff in just a few years that risks raising ticket prices and cutting service on workers who can least afford it, and even though New York lawmakers struck a deal last week to fill a transit budget gap, it's not enough to avoid a fare hike, it added.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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