Writing in CityLab, Research Scholar Eric Goldwyn and Marron Fellow Alon Levy outline a way forward for public transit in the immediate and long term in an opinion piece, “How U.S. Public Transit Can Survive Coronavirus.” They also look back to history and caution:
The aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis offers a lesson in what transit agencies should not do. Many agencies cut service during the ensuing recession. When we examined the change in service hours for buses in New York between 2008 and 2018, we observed that service hours had been slashed by nearly 20%, even as the unemployment rate fell from 2011-19, a time when bus service should have increased; citywide ridership fell by 22% between the same period. While this is merely a correlation—service was cut, ridership fell—there is evidence of causation in the transportation literature.