Mass transit detracters make much of this truth: ridership is consistently far below capacity in most cities.
They say this proves that mass transit is unwanted/unneeded/or unworkable.
They must not have gotten on mass transit in most cities — if they had, they would know that the real, important truth of today’s mass transit systems is that they are incomplete. And like any system, if it’s incomplete, it’s broke.
They are always too small, and thus run on too sparse a time table, with too few routes, making them unworkable at reliably getting folks to work, or to shop, or drop their kids off at daycare. And if you have to do all three of these every day, you are flat out of luck. The wonder is that cities continue to fund these clearly dysfunctional transit systems at all. Can only assume that as bad as they are, the only thing worse than a broken transit system is no transit system.
Very few cities and metropolis’ can adequately fund the equipment, vehicles, right-of-ways, and personnel that would make for truly functional transit. It’s an apparently insoluble problem, as much a product of city planning and design decisions over the past 80 years as it is of simple neglect.
Yet the need to do so, and in a hurry, is an inescapable fact for nearly every city.