If transit leaders want to improve ridership, they need to find ways to reduce fares and make them more equitable, such as by accounting for distance traveled and providing universal passes for students.
Local leaders can also improve service by allowing more bus-only lanes on major arterials and on freeways. These relatively low-cost options would make use of existing infrastructure and provide a huge time-savings to transit riders.
Given the stakes, it makes sense to prioritize passage for buses carrying more people than single-occupancy vehicles. And more people would take transit if they knew it would save them time compared to being stuck in traffic.
I’m hopeful that this hullabaloo about ridership will lead to some positive and overdue action to improve service and transit-oriented development in the region.