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Will Commuter Transit Ever Recover?

Working From Home for Some Threatens Mass Transit for All

Ridership rates remain low in major U.S. cities, threatening the viability of public transit. 

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While President Joe Biden pushes for $2.3 trillion in infrastructure spending with billions for mass transit, operators of commuter rail and buses are fretting over a burgeoning work-from-home culture that threatens to depress revenue for years after the pandemic.

Before the white-collar American workday became a homebound litany of video meetings with a backbeat of tumble-drying laundry, almost 12% of workers in the largest metropolitan areas were mass-transit commuters, according to the U.S. Census. Just 45% of ridership is back nationally, according to the American Public Transportation Association, even as the U.S. averages 2.2 million Covid-19 shots per day and major cities are reopening.