Transit Safety Concerns Reach a New Peak in Latest Return to Office Survey

With Bay Area transit operators facing the daunting reality of hitting a “fiscal cliff” as early as 2025, which would substantially reduce or suspend transit service, the future of public transportation in the Bay Area is dependent on getting people out of cars and into trains, buses, and ferries. What we now know from two years of collecting data from the Bay Area Council Return to Office poll is that, if we are able to provide a safer and cleaner environment on transit, we can bring people back and save local transit agencies from an untimely death. Concerns about crime have figured prominently in a monthly return to office survey the Council has been conducting to understand commuter trends and the reason why ridership on BART and other local transit systems has been so slow to recover since the pandemic.
The most recent Return to Office Employer Survey reveals the highest percentage in the two year history of the survey of employers answering that they are “somewhat” or “very concerned” about their employees' personal safety on transit. Totaling a whopping 78%, with a 7% increase from the last round of the survey all in the “very concerned" category, the consensus is clear that change is needed and is needed now.

The Bay Area Council, which was instrumental in the creation of BART and counts the agency among our more than 300 member organizations, has been laser focused on advocating for safety improvements on the region's public transit systems, with an emphasis on BART safety. Working in partnership with nearly 100 member companies, the Bay Area Council recently launched a transit safety work plan to address these unprecedented concerns with safety on Bay Area transit. As an example of a recent win, after months of the Council's advocacy, BART recently announced that it would reconfigure its police officer deployment model to substantially increase police presence in stations and trains, with more safety improvements on the horizon. The Bay Area Council will continue to advocate for transit safety improvements until all local transit agencies are safer for everyone at any time of day. To join us in this effort, please contact Policy Director Laura Hill .

To see the full March 2023 Return to Office survey results, click here.


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