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.
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:
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……
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 —…
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.
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 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.
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. …
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…
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.
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…