Research Shows Fear Of Subways, Buses May Be Overblown

Steve Burns
June 16, 2020 - 8:03 pm

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    NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The subway may be one of the last places that will start seeing crowds again, but new research shows our fear of transit may be overblown.

    WCBS 880’s Steve Burns reports there were multiple politicians who called for the subway to be shut down and even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention asked people to avoid transit. 

    The NYSE barred also workers from taking a train. 

    The fear of spreading the virus was very real, but now evidence is starting to catch up.

    “New international research that shows fear of transit may be entirely misplaced,” explains Janette Sadik-Khan, the city's transportation commissioner under Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

    She pointed to several cities around the world that are getting back into using their public transportation. 

    “You know, if transit really were a global superspreader, then we should've seen a massive outbreak in places like Hong Kong, which has a population similar to New York City and has a public transit system that carries 13 million people a day,” she said.

    It's the same story in Paris, where not a single outbreak out of 150 was traced back to transit. 

    “The evidence we have shows there's no reason to single out transit,” Sadik-Khan said.

    As people start cautiously coming back buses are seeing riders return faster than the subway.

    “People feel safer above-ground and spending less time in hallways and on platforms with others,” she adds. 

    Sadik-Khan says it's a perfect opportunity to add more bus lanes.

    The MTA has asked for 60 miles, but Mayor Bill de Blasio so far has promised only 20.

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