For the struggling legacy transit systems, new mobility options present challenges and opportunities

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Despite decades of ridership and revenue growth, the country’s busiest transit systems have struggled in recent years both at the turnstile and in the farebox, even as operating costs and unmet capital needs continue to grow. Metropolitan transit agencies serving New York, Chicago, Washington, DC, Boston and San Francisco, the country’s five largest systems, have all seen ridership declines in each of the last three years, and only the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) saw revenues increase, according to financial disclosures.

Some of the decline can be attributed to service quality. But these systems are also challenged by competition from ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft, bike-share programs and the ever-polarizing electric scooter phenomenon.

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China’s transportation revolution

taxis filling up with natural gas

Taxi fleet line up for natural gas at a fueling station in China

The capital of Shandong Province, “Spring City” relies on buses to move its more than four million people across the city because it lacks a subway system (due to its eponymous artesian springs). And those buses move thanks to everything from ammonia to electricity.

 

 

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