As the coronavirus spread, one of the major sectors to be impacted was public transportation. Across the country, cities navigated the virus’ spread on their public transportation systems in differing ways, from enhancing cleaning protocols to reducing schedules. However, as many states begin to ease stay-at-home orders, who will be waiting at the bus stop and who will opt for another way of getting around?
As it currently stands, just over half of public transit users say they are unlikely to return to city systems when lockdowns are lifted.
Given the fact that the least likely users of public transit post-lockdown are the most fearful of being in public spaces and the most likely to remain quarantined, it isn’t a surprise to see many previous public transit users rejecting the idea of sharing a ride with a crowd.
Returning to Public Transport May Be a Necessity
People who rely on public transit to get to work are far and away the most likely commuters to return to their previous commute style when it’s time to go back to work.
But what if a person’s post-lockdown employment situation is unknown? People not working or not getting paid as a result of the pandemic say they are very unlikely to resume using public transportation after lockdowns are lifted. Not having a job to return to would significantly decrease reasons to leave the house for some people.
And unfortunately, CivicScience data show the lowest earners in the current job market are the most likely to report being unemployed or not getting paid because of the coronavirus outbreak.
In general, users and non-users of transportation services are equally likely to remain quarantined in the event of an official government notice to return to normal. But the two groups differ in their willingness to resume all or almost all their normal activities. People who use public transportation are less inclined to return to the day-to-day while non-users will more quickly pick up where they left off.
While some people will return to public transportation, transit systems overall will see a huge decrease in riders when lockdowns are lifted.