As a reminder, Cross County Connection staff is continuing to work remotely during the COVID-19 shutdown. If you need assistance, you can contact us via voicemail at (856)-596-8228 or email at ccctma@driveless.com

We have created information guides to keep the traveling public up to date 
on the status of transportation services and bike shops in the region. 
Please visit Cross County Connection’s Transit Guide and Bike Shop Guide
Information in these guides is subject to change as events progress.  
Cross County Connection’s COVID-19 Newsletter Series 
Public Transportation: Rebounding from COVID-19 

Despite the sharp decline in public transit ridership as a result of the
current pandemic, ridership is rebounding in New Jersey and other areas. Initially dropping by 90 percent, NJ TRANSIT ridership overall has returned to nearly 25 percent of pre-COVID levels, and to about 60 percent of pre-pandemic ridership on light rail specifically. NJ TRANSIT buses and light-rail are now operating on a regular weekday schedule. PATCO has returned to a to normal service frequency on weekdays and weekends, reopened closed stations, and increased its ridership by 8 percent between the start of the pandemic and the end of June.  
 
Ridership decreases on South Jersey’s community shuttles (English Creek-Tilton Road, Rt. 54/40 and Pureland East-West) have not been as high as on large scale transit services. The lowest ridership for the three shuttles occurred in April and all are showing increases, as of July. Ridership losses on each shuttle varied, most likely due to the nature of the destinations served by the shuttle service. Ridership on the Pureland East-West shuttle dropped by only 24%. This is most likely since this shuttle’s passengers work primarily in the Pureland Industrial Complex at worksites deemed essential services (warehouse/distribution, food processing, etc.). These businesses did not shut down and their employees did not have the option of working remotely. 
 
Ridership on the English Creek-Tilton Road and Rt. 54/40 Community Shuttles decreased by 64% and 45%, respectively, between February and April. Destinations along both shuttle routes are heavily retail and service based and therefore were required to closed during the Governor’s mandated business shut down.   
 
As with other transit services, ridership on the community shuttles is increasing, however it has not returned to pre-pandemic levels. As of July 30th, ridership on the English Creek-Tilton Road, Rt 54/40 and Pureland East-West routes is at 77%, 66% and 80% of pre-pandemic ridership. These ridership levels are higher than other public transit systems, most likely due to the destinations and populations served by the shuttles. A significant percentage of shuttle passengers work in essential services, cannot work remotely and do not have a vehicle for commuting.   
 
The ridership data trends demonstrate that transit is coming back and is still a viable mode of travel. Although some passengers may be concerned about returning to public transit, effective safeguards are in place. According to a June 2020 report by the Tri-State Transportation Campaign, a public transit advocacy group in New Jersey, mask-wearing is a key intervention. When combined with social distancing, masks become even more effective. Local transit agencies have heeded this call and comply with CDC requirements. As of July 17, face coverings have been required on all PATCO platforms and trains. Masks are also required on all NJ TRANSIT platforms and vehicles. Both agencies clean vehicles and disinfect highly touched surfaces daily. SEPTA implemented a Social Distancing Coaches program to promote and model the system’s mandatory mask-wearing compliance. 
 
Likewise, on South Jersey’s community shuttles, vehicles are regularly disinfected, and face coverings are required. The Route 54/40, English Creek-Tilton Road and Pureland East-West community shuttles are currently fare-free to limit interaction with the driver and keep everyone as safe and distant as could be.  
 
Vehicle ventilation is also important. According to an August 2020 Plan Philly article, robust ventilation systems significantly reduce the likelihood of viral particles spreading on board. On standard-size SEPTA buses in the Philadelphia region, air is exchanged every 2 minutes, and on SEPTA regional rail trains, air is exchanged every 2 to 3 minutes.   
 
Perhaps, however, the most meaningful indicator of transit’s rebound is public willingness to ride again. In April and May of 2020, Tri-State Transportation Campaign conducted an online survey of regular transit users and received 1,074 respondents, 108 of whom have used public transit during the pandemic, and 966 of whom have stopped riding transit temporarily. Of the 966 currently non-active riders, 92 percent have indicated a desire to return to public transit post COVID-19.  
 
This data, coupled with the knowledge that many without personal vehicles depend on public transit to access essential services, instills confidence that public transit ridership will return to pre-pandemic levels sooner rather than later. Passengers can be confident that local transit agencies are diligently working to make sure they are safe. 


Ronda R. Urkowitz P.P., AICP
Executive Director
(856) 596-8228



Patrick C. Farley, AICP, PP
Program Director
(856) 596-8228 


Cross County Connection's Mission: To improve the quality of
life in southern New Jersey through transportation solutions.
 
About Us: Cross County Connection, a nonprofit organization, partners with the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA), the New Jersey Department of Transportation (NJDOT), NJ TRANSIT, the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission (DVRPC), the South Jersey Transportation Planning Organization (SJTPO), member organizations and the U.S. Federal Highway Administration, to provide solutions to complex transportation problems for counties, municipalities and employers in the southern New Jersey region encompassing Atlantic, Burlington, Camden, Cape May, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. 
This Cross County Connection Transportation Management Association publication is funded by the North Jersey Transportation Planning Authority (NJTPA) and the U.S. Department of Transportation Federal Highway Administration. The U.S. Government and NJTPA assume no liability for the contents.