By Charles Pekow — The COVID pandemic can’t be blamed for all the decline in public transit use. Other factors caused a 14-15 percent drop in bus and rail riding between 2012 and 2018 before anyone ever got sick from the virus. Availability of bikeshare and increased bike facilities played a very minor role, causing one percent of the decline at most.
So concludes Recent Decline in Public Transportation Ridership: Analysis, Causes, and Responses (https://www.nap.edu/download/26320), a new study from the Transportation Research Board. The board attributes most of the decline to increased fares, decreased gas prices and ride-hailing programs such as Uber and Lyft, as well as telecommuting, online shopping, etc.
Possible solutions to the public transit drop would include increased partnerships with bike/scooter sharing providers to make it easier to get to and from public transit. Bikeshare can actually increase rail ridership at outlying stations though it decreased it in central cities mainly on some bus lines.