Get ready for the changing commuting landscape
When was the last time you rode the subway? Has your drive only been to the grocery store and back? You’re not alone. As offices continue to reopen, more people are starting to commute again. Subways, ferries, cars, buses, and trains are moving people all over the country. But despite the uptick in riders, things are different this time around.
Here’s a look at some changes riders and transit systems are experiencing across the country.
Routines and schedules have changed
At one time, only essential workers were using mass transit. Now that workers from other industries are heading back to the office, they see that many schedules have changed. Transit agencies had to cut schedules. As a result, ridership in many places plummeted and hasn’t rebounded yet. With fewer riders, there was less money in fares. Routes were cut to keep the system running financially.
All those route changes mean people must shift their work schedules or get permission from their employer to come in later.
Driving is different
It’s the same deal for drivers, who are buying gas that’s significantly higher priced than it was a year ago. In some cities, sidewalk areas have been extended for restaurants, making it harder to navigate a car to work. Street parking can be harder to find if restaurants were given prime locations to help them stay in business. If you drive in New York, there’s the possibility that congestion pricing will be put into effect at some point.
Transit authorities adapt
There’s a lot of changes going on with transit authorities. They now must deal with lower ridership. In many cities, people fled to the suburbs and will be coming back at some point. Many companies are shifting employees to a hybrid model where they won’t be in the office five days a week. There also have been discussions about how to subsidize mass transit and find new revenue sources.
The MTA in New York is expected to make changes to its offerings since ridership has decreased. In Austin, Texas, they plan on building their major rail projects around recreational activities in the area instead of what made the most sense for commuters. Other places are discussing fare structure changes.
With all the changes for commuters, it makes sense to consider offering commuter benefits in your company. Employees can save up to $270 tax-free money each month to pay towards mass transit, rideshares, and qualified parking costs.
Businesses benefit too by paying less in payroll tax. They can save about $40 per month for each employee who participates. If you have 50 people in the program, you can save $24,000 annually.
For more information, schedule a meeting with us.