America’s transportation fund is bankrupt. Public transit is on life support. Can Biden save America from its Elvis-era transportation policy?

Right about now, Joe Biden is walking the old rooms of the White House like a weary landlord, eyes scrunched up like fists, surveying the “improvements” made by the last tenant. In one room, next to the pyramid of empty coke cans and the greasy Big Mac wrappers carpeting the floor, there’s a wall with a whiteboard that just says INFRASTRUCTURE WEEK. It’s written in permanent marker — but crossed out, and those crosses are themselves crossed out with scribbles. Around this impressive mess of ink is a big clumsy circle. Arrows spiral out from it, every which way.

Our newest batch of cities is soo continental. Welcome Belgium 🇧🇪 + Netherlands 🇳🇱 + Luxembourg 🇱🇺 + Spain 🇪🇸. Or as we like to say, BeNeLuxSpa 💆‍♀️

The most cooperative triumverate in the history of countries, the Netherlands and Belgium and Luxembourg are not just models of unity… trade blocs… great tulip gardens… waffles… or flamboyant investment banker neckties. Their cities are quickly becoming car-free utopias.

Now our Benelux friends have a new friend. Spain!

Joining the legions of Transit’s 200+ supported cities, we’re welcoming every city in:

  • Belgium
  • the Netherlands
  • Luxembourg

And some lucky locales in Spain, as well.

Whether you make your living amid the paella stalls of Valencia, the black beaches of Tenerife, the opulent plazas of Madrid, or the gaudy steeples of Barcelona…

Riders in 35 cities (with more on the way) are using Transit’s new in-app crowding feature: it lets them self-report crowding levels on their bus and train.

It’s wild times. The world keeps vacillating from “chaos” to “worse” before briefly flitting back to “kind of okay”.

In the middle of it all, there’s millions of us, continuing to pantomime a normal life — taking the buses and trains to get to work, to take care of family, or run errands.

While this year has seen a significant reduction in public transit ridership, those still using it rely on it more than ever. Our team at Transit has been working tirelessly to help them feel more confident taking the bus and train.

How are we doing that —…

You can now purchase fares for STM, RTL, STL, and exo buses — as well as BIXIs! — with one account in Transit

En français SVP!

We live in a time where every mundane outing is injected with so much stress. The pocket-tap to make sure you’ve got your phone and keys? It now includes a quick check for face masks (and that leaky bottle of hand sanitizer that smells like gasoline-infused tequila).

The ultimate in mundane? Realizing there’s no “PayPass” at a store — and having to jab your PIN number into those greasy keypads. Or guiltily swapping change with a cashier because you have cash and, hey, it’s legal tender.

Tu peux maintenant acheter des titres de bus STM, RTL, STL, exo — et des passes BIXI — dans Transit avec un seul et unique compte

Click here to read in English!

On vit dans une période où la moindre petite sortie est accompagnée d’une bonne dose de stress. Pas question d’oublier tes clés, ton cell, mais aussi ton masque pis ta petite flasque de gel désinfectant (celui qui sent le limoncello et qui ne laisse pas tes doigts tous gluants).

Et dans ce nouveau monde, certains gestes auparavant tout bêtes sont maintenant source d’angoisse: être obligé de toucher un clavier pour rentrer ton NIP par exemple. Ou encore te sentir mal de payer comptant, parce que t’as oublié tes cartes à la maison.

Transit riders want to know how crowded their vehicles are. One problem: that data didn’t exist in most cities. Now it has arrived.

Transit ridership took a sinus-rattling swan dive this winter. (There was this whole thing…) Now, as the pond water slowly drips out of our ears, more and more of us are returning to public transit. Some by choice; some out of necessity. Whether you’re hopping on the bus to rendezvous with that long-lost friend, or because your bike caught a flat, or because work life beckons — making sure you’re safe is Priority #1, #2, and #3.

But we all know there’s a difference between actually “being safe” and that more elusive “feeling safe”. With enforced mask policies, riding the…

Picking the wrong entrance can put you blocks from where you want to go. Now, you can find the right entrance every time 😎

It doesn’t matter what city you’re in. Trying to navigate an unfamiliar station is hard, especially when a transfer’s tight: neck crooked, arms upraised, searching for platform signs in a frenzy. Like you’re the protagonist in a bad B-movie zombie flick.

Enter COVID-19, messing things up further: now some agencies are closing entrances, so they have fewer things to clean. These unanticipated closures can make for a long walk to the next entrance — or worse — a missed transfer. So to help riders out, we’ve added bus and rail station entrances to Transit.

Millions continue to ride buses and trains. We surveyed them: of course they’re essential workers. They’re also mostly female, people of colour, and poorly paid.

During a single week in March, our app usage dropped 30%. By week two, it was down 70%. Then it bottomed out: for the past few weeks, our app Transit has been holding steady, with usage down 77% below normal. That’s 77% fewer people taking the bus, the train, bikeshare, scooters — all the modes you rely on when you don’t have your own car. And for us, that’s actually great news! 77% of our regular riders are safe, presumably at home, binge-watching Tiger King, working if they’re able, popping out for the occasional 200-metre egg dash to the grocery…

Now in select Transit app cities — with more on the way 🏃‍♀️💨

Amidst the chaos, transit continues to provide an essential lifeline to riders who need to get around. Nurses, doctors, your grocery store clerk. We want to make it easier for them — and you — to avoid crowds when taking public transit. We’re now publishing crowding data from transit agencies, and have started asking more agencies to contribute this info.

Every Transit-supported city with the data is live: Sydney 🇦🇺; Auckland 🇳🇿; Springfield, MA 🇺🇸; Modesto, CA 🇺🇸; Akron, OH 🇺🇸; Erie, PA 🇺🇸; MBTA in Boston 🇺🇸; MTA buses in New York 🗽; and 15+ more.

We sat down with Uber’s ex-policy honcho — and Transit’s new policy advisor! — for a little fireside chat. Minus the fireside 🎙👌

Pointe-Saint-Charles, Montréal: Andrew learnin’ to ride a bike in the pre-BIXI era.

Andrew Salzberg: Formerly of Uber (Head of Transportation Policy). Yearslong-friend of Transit. And reliable mainstay of Urbanist Twitter. Andrew is currently on a Loeb Fellowship at Harvard, where he gets to sit and furrow his dirty-blonde brow, contemplating the future of mobility. He’s also officially teamed up with a lil’ startup close to his heart, as a policy advisor 💚. We sat down with Andrew on a recent jaunt to our Montréal HQ.

So Andrew, before we get to the Uber stuff… how did you get into urban planning?

My dad is an architecture professor. Through him I ended up…


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