When the pandemic hit the US in March 2020, public health officials told people to stay home. But many couldn’t. Essential workers—grocery store cashiers, health care workers, cooks, drivers, and chefs—continued to punch in every day. Others went out for groceries, or doctors’ appointments, or to take kids to school. So all over the US, including in Pittsburgh, Americans kept riding the bus.
Yes, public transit ridership dropped like a stone after many places instituted stay-at-home orders. Americans took 186 million transit rides in the last week of February 2020, according to data compiled by the American Public Transit Association; a month later, that number had fallen by 72 percent, to 52.4 million. At the Port Authority of Allegheny County, which operates in the Pittsburgh area, ridership fell 68 percent.
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