Bay Watch: As Transit Struggles, Traffic Surges
Since the onset of the pandemic, transit agencies that rely on office workers for sustained ridership have struggled to recover. This decline in economic activity has led to a slow and challenging recovery of ridership on the Bay Area’s numerous public transit systems. CalTrain and BART ended the year with low levels of ridership, bringing in 18% and 33% of their pre-pandemic ridership in December 2022, respectively. Contrastingly, toll tag data show 86% of pre-pandemic traffic volumes have returned on the Bay Bridge. Ridership on WETA’s 15 passenger ferries has fared better, having recovered nearly 70% of pre-pandemic riders. From January to December of last year, BART added an average of 41,979 new weekday riders, bringing its pre-pandemic recovery up to 33% from 26%. Still, BART averaged 130,381 riders per weekday in 2022, down 277,946 (or 68%) of riders from 2019’s average weekday ridership of 408,326.
For more data and analysis on the region’s public transit recovery, please visit Bay Watch.