The pandemic cost public transit dearly. Will Pittsburgh-area riders return in 2021?

Stan Caldwell, executive director of the Traffic21 Institute at Carnegie Mellon University, noted that many people still don’t feel safe enough to use transit.

“In my opinion, both locally and nationally, it’s a clear reluctance for people to be in close proximity to other people in an enclosed environment,” Caldwell said. “So we are seeing people taking other modes of transportation, and we are seeing vehicle miles traveled going back up to pre-pandemic levels here in the state of Pennsylvania and nationally.”…

As COVID-19 cases rose, Pennsylvania again mandated telework, unless impossible. And it’s not hard to imagine some companies will use more telework even after the pandemic.

“There was a lot of fear of loss of productivity if that would happen, but I think companies have seen the opposite, have seen increased productivity. So yes, that’s a big concern,” Caldwell said. “And if a system has been reliant on the revenues of that, it changes their revenue models significantly.”