New Ways of Thinking About Transit

passengers on a bus wearing protective masks during the Covid 19 pandemic.By Lesli Stone, CAPP

In the months since we became fluent in COVID-speak and learned what a modern-day pandemic looks like, we have all become familiar with the “new normal.” Everything seems to have been touched and changed by this virus. How we celebrate holidays, how we get our groceries, even how we get from place to place are different.

It could be easy to view all of these changes as negative. There are certainly more than enough can’ts and don’ts floating around for all of us. But I think we can all agree that some good things have been brought forward, as well.

What do you do with a school bus when there is no school? How about deliver meals to students who might go without otherwise? Multiple school districts, along with their transportation providers, began delivering meals to children who needed them most. They also brought supplies and became mobile hotspots so teachers could continue teaching and pupils could continue learning.

When we return to the old normal or the new new normal, depending on your point of view, we would do well to remember the flexibility of transit and its ability to be nimble and meet existing needs. We should use these lessons to create efficiencies and additional uses for our often-idle rolling stock. Now that we know better, we should do better.

Lesli Stone, CAPP, is general manager at National Express Transit Corporation.