Temporary business closures, social distancing, quarantine practices, and teleworking are all leading to a decrease in demand for public transportation.
The D.C. Metro is estimated to run a deficit of $50 million per month as ridership has declined significantly since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and they have put more money into enhanced facility cleaning and basic personal protection equipment for their employees. Metro has responded to the decrease in demand by altering their weekday schedules to operate on a reduced Sunday schedule full-time. Additionally, Amtrak will be operating only 40 percent of its regularly scheduled operations. View the updated schedule changes.
D.C. area public transportation is not alone. The Transit App is estimating a 71 percent reduction in regular demand for transit systems worldwide. The Northern Illinois Metra System is cutting its weekday schedules by half in response to the decreased demand. New York’s public transportation system is seeking a $4 billion bailout from the federal government to cover its current and expected losses.
From coverage in the New York Times:
“The stark reality is that as more people stay home following the advice of medical experts, the M.T.A. is now facing financial calamity,” Patrick J. Foye, chairman of the transit authority, said in the letter.