Monday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

  • Traffic and pollution are plummeting as coronavirus shuts down U.S. cities (New York Times). One of those cities is Atlanta, where vehicular traffic is down 20–40 percent (Brunswick News). We shouldn’t let cars back in when this is all over.
  • Transit agencies in Ohio, Vermont, Nevada and elsewhere are going fare-free during the coronavirus outbreak. This both gives financially struggling riders a break and keeps them safer by allowing buses to use all-door boarding, keeping passengers further apart (City Lab). Toronto recently implemented all-door board and is now allowing drivers to wear masks (The Star).
  • Transit Center highlights how various transit agencies are dealing with the pandemic, such as protecting drivers by limiting front-door boarding. Houston is running more buses so riders can keep their distance from each other, and San Francisco is reorienting the system to focus on residents over tourists.
  • Bike-share and e-scooter companies are taking steps to sanitize their mobility devices, and riding a bike or scooter remains the safest way to get around during the pandemic. (Consumer Reports). Now if only they would stop pulling their fleets… (Streetsblog)
  • Over 200 elected officials, transit agencies and other organizations are urging Congress to provide $13 billion in emergency funding to keep transit operating during the coronavirus pandemic. (Transportation for American, Streetsblog Chicago, Streetsblog Mass)
  • Among the latest systems affected: Ridership is down over 60 percent on Sound Transit and Seattle Metro buses and trains, and sales tax revenue is taking an even bigger hit than during the Great Recession, which could endanger infrastructure projects like the Federal Way light rail extension (Seattle Times). Ridership is also down about 60 percent in Sacramento, whose transit agency is drastically cutting back service in response (Bee).
  • Taxi, Uber and Lyft drivers are at risk of coming down with COVID-19 and seeing a dramatic drop in income. Making matters worse, as “gig economy” workers, ride-hailing drivers are not eligible for the benefits laid-off hourly and salaried employees can access. (Philadelphia Inquirer)
  • Transit workers in Washington, D.C. are scared to show up for work. (DCist)
  • Virginia is distributing $11 million to local transit agencies that are seeing ridership drop during the pandemic. (CBS 19)
  • Baltimore musicians have found a way to keep people entertained in the age of social distance with personal “sidewalk serenades.” (Baltimore Magazine)