Across the nation, the coronavirus pandemic has hit transit systems hard — and called into question the future of their business model.

City transit systems have been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. They’ve lost millions of riders, and still they are being lambasted for carrying too many people. But the long-term effects of the pandemic on mass transit are still unclear: Who will ride once things return to some semblance of normality? How will transit agencies provide for current riders and win back those staying away?

https://www.nationalreview.com...siness-model-unclear

 

Original Post

Interesting article, Mitch. I was watching the late news from NYC last night and this topic was one of their pieces. One member of the City Council was worried that the city doesn’t have a plan for a return to mass transit usage. As someone who road the NYC buses/subways and later Metro-North to High School, College, and work for over 40 years, I can assure you that, no matter how crowded a bus or train car is, New Yorkers will do whatever it takes to cram onboard. And yes, I’ve done it!!! 

It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next year or so. After 9/11, my former company (one of the largest life insurance companies in the country) moved about 20% of the NYC staff out of the city to a satellite campus in Westchester County (unfortunately, they have reversed much of that change in the last few years). I am expecting to see more remote locations popping up and the use of work from home arrangements.

@Apples55 posted:

I can assure you that, no matter how crowded a bus or train car is, New Yorkers will do whatever it takes to cram onboard. And yes, I’ve done it!!! 

Heck, in Tokyo, they had subway pushers whose job it was to get the cars packed as tight as was possible...  Don't think that's happening nowadays.  :/ 

 I am expecting to see more remote locations popping up and the use of work from home arrangements.

From what I've seen, office workers do seem to be moving to a work from home model reasonably well.  In fact, my NRHS chapter will be holding its first Zoom meeting in June...  

Mitch

As it stands, the NYC subway is shut down from 1am-5am for train interior and station cleaning. Last I heard, they're experimenting with ultraviolet lamps to sterilize the interior of subways and buses, in much the same way some hospitals are doing.

---PCJ

@RailRide posted:

As it stands, the NYC subway is shut down from 1am-5am for train interior and station cleaning.

Are they stepping up efforts to keep the tracks litter-free as well, I hope? 

Last I heard, they're experimenting with ultraviolet lamps to sterilize the interior of subways and buses, in much the same way some hospitals are doing.

The Arkansas and Missouri is going to similar procedures when they resume excursion operations later this year, including putting ozone generators in the cars when not in service.  

Mitch 

Here's a short video on the UV trial:

As for the tracks, we do have a few of these:

It was just being moved in the above video--the only shots I've seen of one actually working was of the old one.

I've not seen the extent of station cleaning operations, but the last subway car I was on which was last night (I usually take 3 buses to my current work location as it's more direct), was completely devoid of trash and spills after its 30-ish mile trip from Brooklyn. Naturally, one cannot expect them all to look like that under the circumstances.

---PCJ

 

Interesting videos, thanks for posting.

A buddy at work had forwarded me a similar UV thing designed for airplanes a week or two before we started the shutdowns here in the US. 

I have no idea the cost of it vs. the items the MTA is using, but one would think a similar thing could be used for a subway car.  Does need a person to walk the length of each car with it.

https://www.germfalcon.com/germfalcon-for-airplanes

-Dave

Most diseases, including COVID-19,  are spread by inhaling droplets of respiratory tract fluids (coughs, sneezes, saliva while speaking), not through contaminated surfaces.  So while a great idea and of some value, UV treatment won't solve the problem of the risks of closely packed buses and subway cars.  Masks, face shields, or even expensive power assisted personal respirators (PAPRs) are a more practical, but less acceptable to most people intervention.    Herd immunity, vaccines and anti-viral drugs are the other part of the equation, but these take time for a new virus. 

Until some of these issues are resolved, public transit will remain more dangerous and less used than in the past.  We've learned a lot from this pandemic, and some of what we have learned is that getting human beings close together in large numbers has risks. 

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