While the MTA has taken numerous steps to address rider safety, and studies have shown that transit in and of itself does not cause the virus to spread, many riders still fear getting back on-board. A new white paper released by the Permanent Citizens Advisory Committee to the MTA (PCAC) entitled How the MTA can transition into the New Normal: Getting Riders Back On-Board, includes recommended measures the MTA should take to increase rider confidence. Based on research into best practices currently being used in transit systems nationally and globally, the ultimate goal is to encourage riders to return to subways, buses, and commuter rail by making them feel safe and comfortable while riding. Doing so will maintain equitable public transit options and allow the MTA — and the economy — to rebound.
However, the financial damage from the pandemic is profound and the MTA’s ability to continue its efforts and implement additional best practices rests on an infusion of adequate federal funding. Sufficient and sustained funding is essential to the agency’s ability to maintain a safe, clean and disinfected system; run enough service to reduce crowding; and continue improvements that improve reliability.