The pandemic is having an effect on all areas of our lives from our jobs to how we shop for groceries. But that’s not all. Its also having an impact in ways many of us don’t consider. For example, the pandemic is affecting public transit, too. Read on to find out more…
Although most of California – and other states across the U.S. — remain under stay-at-home mandates, that doesn’t mean that everyone is on vacation or staying in and doing crafts or playing games with the kids. Essential workers must still clock in every day.
That means millions of nurses, doctors, lab techs, restaurant workers, grocery store clerks and managers, law enforcement officers, utilities employees, and others have to get to work somehow.
Many of them who used to rely on riding public transportation to commute to their jobs are now finding themselves stranded, as communities across the state are slashing bus and light rail routes.
Metro buses in Los Angeles have been on a restricted schedule since mid-April. The majority of bus lines in San Francisco were eliminated a week earlier. Santa Cruz reduced local routes in April as well, including all School Term buses. There are similar cuts happening in not just the metro areas of the state, but also smaller communities.
Naturally, there are several unwelcome consequences for riders, transportation service employees, and the general public as a result of these restrictions. Here are some of the ways the pandemic is affecting public transit.
First off, riders have a harder time getting where they need to go – primarily, places of employment that are essential to public health and well-being. These include stores where people can pick up needed supplies and groceries, hospitals and health clinics, public works, fire and police stations, and the like.
Such facilities’ ability to operate at capacity is already constrained due to illness. And the fewer people who can make it to work on time and reliably, the more these essential services will suffer.
In addition, the stress of waiting for buses, missing rides, or worrying about how to get to work is taxing the overall well-being of workers already under extraordinary strain.
Secondly, transportation authority employees are seeing reduced hours and even layoffs, as their services are no longer needed as regularly as before. This creates more reliance on state unemployment systems, further burdening families who are struggling to make ends meet and dragging down an already shambling economy.
Lastly, the reduced public transportation opportunities may even be contributing to additional risk of infection from the deadly coronavirus that got us into this mess in the first place. There are more riders congregating at bus and rail stations and stops, and of course, riding the buses and trains themselves, which means they are standing and sitting closer together than they should.
There Is A Silver Lining
Is there any good news coming out of the coronavirus pandemic? Happily, there is.
Less Air Pollution
For starters, air pollution has decreased across the world, since so many fewer cars are driving and causing emissions. The reduced bus schedules are also contributing to this silver lining.
Accident Rates Are Down
Additionally, car and bus accident rates are down. There are a lot fewer accidents causing physical injuries, emotional trauma, and financial issues.
It’s not just bus riders who are experiencing fewer problems due to accidents, either; as bus collisions and crashes cause devastating consequences for other drivers, motorcycle riders, pedestrians, and bikers, according to the bus accident lawyers at The Barnes Firm Los Angeles.
Lower Gas Prices
Those who are still driving to work are benefiting from the lowest gas prices seen in years. For example, in the Sacramento area, gas costs are hovering around $2 per gallon, while other regions are paying only $1.75 or so.
Experts are predicting that some areas of the country could see gallons of gas going for less than one dollar – rates we haven’t experienced since the oil glut of the 1980s.
Final Thoughts on How the Pandemic is Affecting Public Transit
How are you making out with transportation during this time? Do you need to use public transportation, or are you still filling up your tank? What kind of activities and entertainment are you using to help keep your family busy and happy? We’d love to hear about it, so drop a comment below!