The phrase “unchartered territory” is being heard quite often these days in the public transit world in response to the coronavirus (COVID-19) health emergency as we continue to provide essential mobility to millions of Americans. For many people, transit service is “essential” and the only way to access a doctor, pharmacy, job (including health care jobs) or childcare. In the new normal, public transit agencies across the U.S. are having to step up their virus response plans.
So, what are transportation agencies doing in this “unchartered territory”? Check out some interesting stories we’ve found for you to read this month!
American Public Transit Association Lends Helping Hand to Transit Agencies
Transportation systems are always important for communities and our country, and never more so than during a crisis. On the national level, the American Public Transit Association (APTA) is providing information and resources to public transportation organizations in North America. APTA is also working with its members to secure emergency legislative funding. According to APTA, emergency funding would help agencies cover expected revenue losses, as well as direct costs, such as cleaning efforts associated with the ramped-up response to the health emergency. With guidance from APTA, all transit agencies throughout the country are having to identify essential functions – those primary and supporting services.
North Texas Transit Agencies Coming Together
On the regional and local levels, transit agencies are working diligently to stay informed and prepared. An increased level of collaboration during this “uncharted territory” has occurred. All agencies in North Texas such as DCTA, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) and Trinity Metro are adding additional safety measures based on CDC guidelines. Buses and trains are being cleaned regularly with hospital-grade disinfectants and DCTA is closely monitoring the situation and will provide updates of any new information that could impact riders’ commutes as it becomes available. DCTA riders and employees can find more information at RideDCTA.net, including signing up for agency Rider Alerts.
Transit Agencies Nation-Wide Reduce and Suspend Service as Ridership Declines
As the coronavirus spreads, many pubic transit agencies are reducing and even suspending service to help limit the number of passengers onboard vehicles. The reductions are also in response to declining ridership across the county. DCTA and Trinity Metro have both reduced service in the recent weeks in response to the urgent public guidance from regional leaders, along with emergency health orders to cancel events, close schools and offices, practice “social distancing” and limit social gatherings across Denton County and North Texas.
While this “uncharted territory” can be scary, it is also leading to agencies banding together to help their community, like The Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Cap Metro) in Austin, Texas using its vehicles to deliver food to its Access passengers!
Want some non-coronavirus transit news? Check out these stories below to take your mind off it!
Mass Transit Magazine Collects Happy Stories in Transit
Mass Transit Magazine started posting lists of five good things in transit that happen each day to lift reader’s spirits. From someone making a sign to thank transit drivers or New Yorkers mimicking their commute from their bathroom, it’s sure to leave a smile on your face.
Congestion cost Americans nearly $88 billion in 2019
According to the 2019 Global Traffic Scorecard, Americans lost 99 hours a year due to congestion, costing them nearly $88 billion in 2019. In the past two years, the average time lost by American drivers has increased by two hours as economic and urban growth continues. Boston was ranked the most congested U.S. urban area for the second year in a row and Dallas didn’t even make the top 10 list, though it can feel like it sometimes. A portion of I-35 in Austin, however, is ranked number six in the 10 Most Congested U.S. Roads in 2019. It’s important now more than ever to rely on public transit in your area as roadways become more crowded and populated.
Have a question or comment about one of the stories we featured, or is there a big headline you think we should have included? Leave your comment below. We’d love to hear from you!