See more articles from the Summer 2023 Newsletter

Resurgence of Shared Transportation Modes 


JUNE 2023

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted various aspects of our daily lives, and transportation is one of the sectors that has been significantly affected. Aaron Matthews, a TDM Coordinator with ALTRANS had the opportunity to interview professionals in the transportation industry to learn about their experiences during the pandemic and the current state of public transportation. 

Kermit Cuff, who works for the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, shared that the pandemic caused constant service changes due to low-capacity requirements, resulting in unreliable transit service. Most transit agencies have seen a significant decrease in ridership, with only about 70% of pre-pandemic bus ridership and 50% of light rail ridership. The switch to remote work has hit transit hard, and the lack of enrollment in community colleges has contributed to the low ridership. The inability to hire and train bus and light rail operators has also hindered the ability to increase transit use. 

Kyle Baldasano, who works for Corinthian Parking and Transportation as a Regional Director, shared that the pandemic was unprecedented, and it decimated the growth of the transportation industry. Corinthian hopes to see 60% of pre-pandemic ridership by the end of the year, but factors such as budget cuts, hybrid schedules, and departments getting cut could impact ridership. Kyle emphasized the importance of diversifying services and adapting to what clients want. 

Connie McGee, who works for Commute with Enterprise as the Group Commute Manager, shared that the vanpool business dropped dramatically when the pandemic hit, but they still had more than half of their vanpools continue to operate throughout the pandemic. Many vanpool groups still had to get to work as essential workers, and vanpools became a controlled way for people to commute together. By providing Clean Car Kits to help keep the vehicles clean daily, they were able to keep the vans clean and safe. Today, their business continues to grow and has outpaced where they were pre-pandemic. 

Overall, the pandemic has had a profound impact on public/private transportation, and professionals in the industry have had to adapt to the changing circumstances. As we move forward, it will be interesting to see how public transportation continues to evolve and what measures will be taken to increase ridership.