Thursday’s Headlines From Around the Nation

  • Ride-hailing drivers are putting their lives on the line shuttling people around during the COVID-19 pandemic — even taking some to the hospital — but they still don’t have health care or other basic rights (City Lab). Drivers say Uber and Lyft are blocking them from getting paid sick leave or unemployment benefits as many struggle with both the disease risk and a drop in business (New York Times). One potential solution: New York City is hiring out-of-work Uber and Lyft drivers to deliver food to homebound seniors (The Verge).
  • Ridership has plunged 80 percent on major U.S. and European public transportation systems during the coronavirus outbreak (Quartz). Yet almost 3 million employees classified as essential during the COVID-19 emergency still take transit to work — about a third of transit’s total ridership (Transit Center).
  • The coronavirus stimulus package includes $25 billion for struggling transit agencies, but experts say that won’t be enough. (Streetsblog)
  • The State Smart Transportation Initiative highlights two new studies: One, in Sweden, found that the right messaging can influence the mode of transportation people choose. The other found that Virginia’s variable tolls are convincing some drivers to carpool, vanpool or take transit.
  • On top of cuts forced by a shortage of operators, Denver’s Regional Transportation District will slash bus and light-rail service again in response to coronavirus-related steep drop in ridership (Denver Post). Transit ridership is down 40 percent since March 9 in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia. (Daily Press)
  • Advocates are asking for state funding and suspended fare collection for the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority, which has been hit by Gov. Mike DeWine’s stay-at-home order. (Scene)
  • New Yorkers want to close some streets to cars because traffic is down and they need more space for social distancing (City Limits), but the final plan from the de Blasio administration is paltry (Streetsblog).
  • Pittsburgh is updating its bike master plan for the first time in over 20 years, proposing 226 miles of new bike lanes and trails, tripling the city’s bike facilities over the next 10 years. (Next City)
  • Hundreds of Uber drivers are licensed to operate in Spokane — but the company itself is not, because it objects to a city law involving vehicle inspections. (Spokesman-Review)
  • Cry us a river: Coronavirus is hurting the Minneapolis parking business. (Star Tribune)
  • Learning how to change a bike tire as a kid is coming in handy now for Stephen Colbert. (Twitter)