Even if you don’t typically take a form of public transportation you still expect to see city buses on the roads, along with light rail and trains in some major metropolitan areas. However, the future of mass transit might be in doubt.
The number of riders is down in the U.S. and other major cities across the globe and some people are wondering if this is the end of mass transit. While mass transit isn’t going away, at least in the foreseeable future, there will be some changes that riders will either love or hate.
Mass Transit in the Future
The number of annual riders on public mass transit systems has been declining over the years. Some of the decline is attributed to more affordable automobile pricing, along with drops in some types of vehicle insurance premiums.
Health concerns, both in the past and present, are also contributing to the drop in daily riders.
Having more room on buses and subway trains seems like a positive. It’ll be easier to find a seat, even during busy morning commutes. Social distancing also won’t be as big of a problem with fewer riders.
However, there is a serious downside to you being able to easily find a seat. The loss of riders means that less money is coming in. These are the funds that are used for maintenance, repairs, and even improvements. Without this money, mass transit will not be able to survive.
This doesn’t mean that public mass systems around the world are accepting the fact they might be obsolete. They have a few ideas that will keep mass transit operating well into the future.
Scooters, bikes, and even electric mini cars are entering the mass transit system. In an effort to stay relevant, mass transit is expanding away from crowded buses and trains. How the system works is simple. Riders, using a credit card or token, rent the vehicle for a specific amount of time, returning it to one of the rental kiosks when they’re finished.
You will still be able to get around the city, even if you don’t own a vehicle. Best of all, you’ll never have to worry about finding a seat. These rental kiosks are showing up in major cities around the world.
We already have smart cars and some light rail systems are also automated. Mass transit is also working on incorporating smart buses into their fleet.
The public transport app is being developed and has been granted a license to run a smart fleet in London. San Francisco also isn’t far behind in starting a fleet. The advantage of a smart bus will be its smaller size that will be better equipped to navigate narrow and crowded city streets.
Underwater Mass Transit
This doesn’t apply to all cities and the cost is expensive. England and France have The Channel Tunnel or ‘Chunnel’ as it’s referred to. Consisting of three tunnels – two are used for freight and passenger trains and the other for service and maintenance.
Some cities around the world are discussing the possibility of adding underwater tunnels to their mass transit system but this will be in the future if or when it happens.
Even though public mass transit systems are taking a financial hit, it doesn’t seem to mean the end of city buses and trains. Instead, it is forcing cities and transit administration to come up with new and innovative ideas to ensure their future.