May 5, 2020

MBTA Commuter Ridership

This is a quick content change up for the Month of May, and possibly June. COVID-19 has been the top story since early March and I thought it was about time that I added some content here about the whole Corona Virus situation.

Since March 13th, the MBTA Commuter rail ridership has dropped approximately 80-90%. This is due to the the "Stay At Home" advisory and many Boston Commuters working from home.

Recovery Projection

Last week I posted a graphic where I predict how the volume of traffic on Massachusetts' MBTA Commuter Rail will change over the next few months.

This chart shows the percent of ridership on the MBTA Commuter Rail. Whereas it was 100% in January 2020.

2020 Commuter Report

Here are my thoughts on the logic:

May - 20% Ridership - The "Stay at Home Advisory" will be lifted on May 18th, I don't think there will be much change for commuters going into Boston.

June - 20% Ridership - More people will start to take the commuter rail, but a lot of people will be working from home. Partly because schools are still in session until mid-June. Many summer camps will not be opened - making things difficult for parents.

July - 40% Ridership - More people will be heading into the city - but only a few days. I suspect most people won't be buying Monthly passes. Certainly, I would expect to see more people working from home on Fridays. Major League Baseball will be playing and that will help build confidence in people to venture out to work.

August - 50% Ridership - Back to School season. Some Colleges may start the Fall season with distance learning and target to reopen their campus in the Spring. This is why I predict that July and August numbers to be the same. More sports and summer camps should be running. Commuters will start heading into the office more frequently. Monthly Ticket passes sales should increase.

September - 60% Ridership - I suspect that people will have more comfort to riding the train with masks and taking "off hours" to work. I predict that toward the end of the month, a vaccine will be approved and pushed through by the FDA. (While many experts think that it may take several years, I think the timeline will be shortened.)

October - 70% Ridership - This is about as good as it gets for a while. The vaccine is being widely distributed to major hospitals around the world. Companies will be encouraging employees to return to their offices. Some workers may choose to work from home on more frequent bases.

What Do you Think?

What do you think? Do you agree with my timeline? Is it too aggressive?

I know there's some talk about some companies only bringing 30% of their workforce in at a time. I predict that it will happen for a short duration as things get figured out at work and people get adjusted to the "new normal."


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