While highway traffic volumes are getting closer to pre-pandemic levels, public transportation usage continues to be down significantly, creating concerns for Amtrak, SEPTA and public transportation agencies across the Commonwealth.

Amtrak is asking for $1.7 billion in federal money for its Northeast Corridor alone and says it may cut 2,400 jobs without it. Its ridership is about 25% of the pre-Covid level and is projected to hit only 40% in the coming months.

SEPTA reports that ridership is only 10% to 15% of what it was before the pandemic, and service cuts and layoffs will occur without additional revenue.

These problems are a reminder that a return to anything approaching “normal” is a long way off. Let’s hope the quest for an effective vaccine goes quickly.