We are in uncharted waters with regard to COVID-19 virus; we don’t know how bad it will get or how wide and long its devastation will reach. We hope it will be put under control soon and pray that your friends and families are spared the worst from this illness.
Our transit systems, nation-wide, are also in uncharted waters. With the statewide orders for non-essential workers to stay at or work from home, the closing of schools and businesses, and the need for maintaining maximum social distance, transit systems are being hurt badly. Ridership is down between 40% and 90% in transit systems across the US (e.g., NYC ridership is down 67%, Bay area transit down 87%, Seattle down 45%).
The NFTA is experiencing similar ridership decreases. These losses are made worse when other taxes that support transit (e.g., the Erie County sales and mortgage recording taxes) also take a financial hit due to the virus. The $2.2T Federal CARES act just passed and signed into law by President Trump includes $25B for transit systems. This will help.
We are very pleased with the actions taken by the NFTA including:
- Suspension of all transit fares. This allows passengers to enter through rear doors and avoids touching of fare ticket machines, handling of fare cards, and queuing at bus pay stations.
- Frequent sanitizing of heavily touched areas on buses, trains and in stations.
- Maintenance of normal bus and train schedules to allow essential workers to get to and from work without added delays.
- Operational actions determined in consultation with public health and medical experts.
- Concerted efforts being made to keep the public informed about operational changes and recommended procedures via the NFTA website, Facebook and Twitter, and via local media (TV, radio, and print).
We encourage you to consult the NFTA website (https://www.nfta.com) for the latest up-to-date information. CRT will also be posting relevant articles and information on our website, Facebook and Twitter feeds.
We wish you and your families the best as we all navigate this
- Doug Funke