Transit Ridership Slightly Climbing but Still 22 Percent Short of Pre-COVID Levels

Bus Riders
by Shirleen Guerra


Transit ridership has seen a significant decline across the U.S. since the beginning of COVID-19. Although now rising slowly, transit agencies are still seeing a 22% drop from peak pre-COVID ridership.

Overall weekly ridership went from 196.3 million the week of Jan. 26-Feb. 1, 2020 to 152.7 million the week of Feb. 4-10, 2024. That’s according to reports from the American Public Transportation Association.

Transit ridership dropped from 196.3 million the week of Feb. 1, 2020, to 39.2 million the week of April 5-11, 2020 due to the pandemic. Many transit agencies were shut down across the country.

Slowly, ridership has climbed back up but is still short of the pre-COVID numbers.

The American Public Transportation Association stated remote working was a leading contributor to the lagging ridership.

“Persistent telework policies resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic emergency have continued to negatively impact ridership on public transportation in the United States beginning in March 2020,” APTA stated in December.

APTA said office occupancy rates were at about 50% in December. APTA reported that early signs that the slow increase in ridership is from trips to and from residential and commercial areas as opposed to office/work areas.

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Shirleen Guerra is a staff reporter for The Center Square. Shirleen attended Odessa College where she completed an apprenticeship through The Odessa American where she previously freelanced.




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