Why the humble city bus is the key to improving U.S. public transit

3 Mar 2023


Public transit in the U.S. is in a sorry state—aging, underfunded and losing riders, especially since the COVID-19 pandemic. Many proposed solutions focus on new technologies, like self-driving cars and flying taxis. But as a researcher in urban policy and planning, I see more near-term promise in a model that’s been around for a century: the city bus.

Today, buses in many parts of the U.S. are old and don’t run often enough or serve all the places where people need to go. But this doesn’t reflect the bus’s true capability. Instead, as I see it, it’s the result of cities, states, and federal leaders failing to subsidize a quality public service.

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