I’m in the Canadian Urban Transit Association newsletter this week, with a piece on goals. Key quotation:
The crisis has revealed a strong new argument for transit, one we should deploy at anyone who wants to judge us on ridership. Transit has kept running through the crisis as an essential service, supporting people who work in hospitals, grocery stores, utilities. These mostly low-income people would typically have been called “transit dependent.” But it is they who are holding civilization together right now, so we are all “transit dependent” in this sense.
What’s more, this has always been true. Transit riders have always been part of the basic functioning of our cities. Measuring that role solely with ridership would be like measuring the success of the police by how many arrests they make. The purpose of the police is to provide a base level of security that people can count on. The purpose of transit is to do the same for urban mobility. Transit means that people can go places, and thus do things, in a way that isn’t as harmful or expensive as driving.