Since so many people are now working from home, large transport infrastructures in are no longer in the same kind of usage. This can be seen very clearly in New York City and has led to three of the busiest commuter railroads (the Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North Railroad and N.J. Transit) in the country having to adapt to something altogether new.
Some of the changes include: substantially less time in operation, reduced services, a drop in the price of fares and new kinds of tickets being offered. While this is a good response to the decreased demand in commuter travel, the problem of how to bolster revenue given the losses incurred in the pandemic remain. Plus, given the fact that it is looking more likely that commuters will not be returning to a 5-day a week in-house work week, the struggle will continue. Washington’s Eno Center for Transportation president Robert Puentes pointed out:
“The commuter railroads have been really hammered during the pandemic. It’s hard to overstate the transformations that are happening because of this pandemic.”
So what will be the future of transport? Perhaps e-scooters are the answer? Lime is now working with the scooter sharing pilot program from NYC DOT and will be operating 1,000 e-scooters in NYC. The program is putting a lot of emphasis on affordability, safety and sustainability. This will hopefully provide a much easier way of transporting people around the city.
Users will access their scooters via the Lime app, scanning the scooter’s QR code to begin a ride. To end the ride they take a picture of the scooter showing it is parked properly. The fastest they go is 15mph but new users will have to go at 10mph for their first three rides as they get used to it.
“Lime is honored and grateful to once again serve New Yorkers, and we’re excited to get rolling with shared electric scooters in the East Bronx. Today is the culmination of years of community outreach, establishing trust and building meaningful relationships to finally bring a shared scooter programme to New York City, and we look forward to continuing to earn the trust of all New Yorkers over the coming months and years. Our scooters will provide East Bronx residents and visitors with safe, affordable and accessible transportation to get around their neighbourhoods, all while reducing congestion and connecting people to public transit. We’re laser-focused on operating a safe and equitable micromobility programme in the greatest city in the world, as we hope to demonstrate to cities globally the tremendous benefits of shared electric vehicles in revolutionising transportation.”
The health regulations and recommendations to curb the spread of COVID-19 are constantly changing. But one message has remained consistent throughout: remaining physically active is important for the long-term health of both the body and mind.
Dayton Kingery, a Connecticut native and fitness enthusiast, says that the real estate market in his area is busier than ever. “People are looking for safe ways to be outdoors and be active. Nobody wants to be cooped up in their small city apartment. They want to escape the virus and the deserted city streets. Here we have more space and plenty of outdoor venues for exercise and exploration.”
People from across New York, who own or rent summer properties in Connecticut, say that riding out the lockdown orders, social distancing regulations, and work-from-home expectations is much easier in less densely populated areas. “Bike riding has always been a popular form of transportation in the city,” Kingery says, “but now it has become a form of relaxation and self-care.”
Longtime Connecticut residents and other city “escapees” should all consider taking up a new hobby or activity; these pursuits are important ways to combat loneliness, remain mindful, and stay busy. Kingery recommends enjoying the many hiking trails, walking paths, and nature reserves across the state and taking in as much of the great outdoors as possible.
In the first phase of the coronavirus re-entrance to work, it has been estimated that approximately 825,000 commuters will start using public transportation. That makes up approximately 15% of the total amount of regular commuters pre-COVID-19. The people who work in construction, manufacturing and retail industries are the ones who are first going to use the public transportation service. Phase 2 will probably up the number to around 2,000,000 (which is anticipated to be the beginning of next month) and then 3,000,000 by Phase 3 (by which time it is hoped that eateries open up).
Given these plans, the MTA has been working hard to put strategies in place to protect the health of the public. The wearing of masks will be required and additional service will be put in place to make it effective.
According to New York City Transit Interim President Sarah Feinberg:
“If you are going to reopen and you’re going to tell people to come back to work, you have to provide transportation for them…[with the mandated 6 meters’ distance between riders]…that means you can only serve a small percentage of your riders.”
As such, the MTA has put out a request to public transport users who are not traveling for necessity to avoid using the trains during peak times. Regular weekday bus service will return to normal in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens and Staten Island. In Manhattan 75 percent of regular service will be resumed.
How can people return to work and commute when it is so hard to monitor social distancing on public transportation? That is what is happening in New York as many thousands returned to the subway following the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions in the region.
While the Metropolitan Transit Authority is working around the clock to ensure safety on trains, consumers are still very concerned of coronavirus being spread while they commute to their jobs.
Fears include: lack of mask-wearing, lack of social distancing (as the subways are traditionally very crowded), etc. – all issues that have been problematic in slowing the spread of the virus. Having said that there will be law enforcers in the form of transit workers telling them to wear them as well as NYPD workers enforcing the law.
July 8th is when New York City will start Phase One of its economic re-opening, rendering it the last region in New York State to take this on.