Feb 18, 2021 - News
A bad year for Des Moines' bus system
Reproduced from Des Moines Area Transit Authority; Chart: Axios Visuals

The total number of rides were increasing on Des Moines' public transit system. Then the pandemic hit.

What happened: Social distancing and remote work/schooling led to overall monthly ride decreases between 50-60% as compared to the previous year.

The impact: DART cut the number of express routes in response to the decrease in demand.

  • But service on regular routes is operating at near normal.
  • The system is seeing nearly 6,000 rides each weekday in our metro.
  • One benefit to fewer riders: Social distancing is easier.

The big picture: Multiple studies show public transportation is generally safer than many feared last year.

  • Yes, but: Masks are a must. Not to freak you out, but take a look at this fascinating interactive graphic from the New York Times showing how viral particles spread by a maskless person on a subway.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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