Transit in the US has continually cut service to improve the bottom line, effectively causing customers to prefer driving, further reducing revenue. Streets, roads, and highways are more and more clogged with vehicles, and the automotive industry has shown recent interest in alternative transportation. The government can make good on promises of investment in transit, and voters should demand it.
How America Killed Transit
Streetcar, bus, and metro systems have been ignoring one lesson for 100 years: Service drives demand.
“One hundred years ago, the United States had a public transportation system that was the envy of the world. Today, outside a few major urban centers, it is barely on life support. Even in New York City, subway ridership is well below its 1946 peak. Annual per capita transit trips in the U.S. plummeted from 115.8 in 1950 to 36.1 in 1970, where they have roughly remained since, even as population has grown.”
This has not happened in much of the rest of the world.
“What happened? Over the past hundred years the clearest cause is this: Transit providers in the U.S. have continually cut basic local service in a vain effort to improve their finances. But they only succeeded in driving riders and revenue away. When the transit service that cities provide is not attractive, the demand from passengers that might “justify” its improvement will never materialize.”