Remote work impact on transit

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earthling
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Remote work impact on transit

Post by earthling »

NYC is probably the most extreme case but perhaps a telling future depending on how remote work plays out long term. Many/most will eventually return but hybrid workers may be less likely to continue monthly passes, in any major metro.

How Remote Work Is Devastating New York City’s Commuter Rails
Before the pandemic, they relied on office workers, who spent up to $500 a month on tickets. At the M.T.A., those sales are down 75 percent.
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/01/21/nyre ... demic.html
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s two commuter railroads, Metro-North and the Long Island Rail Road, sold nearly 200,000 monthly passes before the pandemic. In November, those sales were down more than 75 percent, to about 45,000 passes. The authority recently said that it would collect just $49 million from commuters in 2021 — a steep decline from $346 million in 2019.

Sales of monthly passes accounted for nearly 40 percent of New Jersey Transit’s ticket revenue in 2019. In mid-2021, sales of those passes were still down by about 70 percent.
...
Before the pandemic, Tero Jänne spent two hours every workday traveling on Metro-North between his home in Darien, Conn., and his office at Solomon Partners, a financial firm in Midtown Manhattan. He gave up his monthly pass, which cost $335, and before Omicron arrived, commuted into work about three days a week.

“I don’t view it as a reduced workweek — it’s a reduced period of commuting,” said Mr. Jänne, a managing director at the company.
...
Metro-North was selling about 95,000 monthly passes before the pandemic, Mr. Lieber said. That number plunged to about 10,000 by the start of 2021 and gradually rose to about 20,000 by November, he said.
...
After years of riding New Jersey Transit trains back and forth to Pennsylvania Station daily, Mr. Kass, 45, rarely boards a train and does not miss depending on a railroad that had become maddeningly unreliable.

“It’s the commute that I dread,” Mr. Kass said. “It’s the commute that was eating me alive.”

Now that he is saving more than $300 a month on a monthly pass and at least a couple of hours a day by skipping the commute, he is a work-from-home convert.

“You can’t tell me I have to commute into an office,’’ he said, “if I have 100 percent demonstrated that this works.”
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

Post by KCPowercat »

Has anybody seen stats on how many pre-pandemic office workers are back in the office and of that what % are full time back vs. "flexible"?

I was thinking about those impacts on transit just the other day, thanks for sharing.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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^Just one source, will try to find others as there are lots of ways to measure...
https://seekingalpha.com/article/447816 ... he-sunbelt

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earthling
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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^Here's the original source that updates more often. Based on keycard/fob access trends...
https://www.kastle.com/safety-wellness/ ... k-to-work/
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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Gallup poll hasn't updated since Sept. Keep in mind that some reports show % of 'office workers' and others show % of 'all workers'.
https://news.gallup.com/poll/355907/rem ... anent.aspx
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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I don't think the future is WFH, I think the future is a hybrid.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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Agree but near full time WFH will probably be at a higher % than in past and even more doing hybrid can still be a big impact on many things (monthly transit passes, CBD lunchtime biz, maybe office space long term). Many (not most) companies were moving toward more WFH before COVID anyway. Not for all workers but more roles than past. Office jobs are growing faster than other areas so could be enough to offset anyway.

I was a bouncing around as hybrid/remote digital nomad for many years before pandemic. I got a monthly bus pass before doing the 'hobo with a laptop' thing but stopped getting one after no longer having a dedicated desk, WFA few days/week or longer roaming elsewhere. That could become a long term trend not for most but higher % than ever.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

Post by DaveKCMO »

I won't say it's a non-issue in KC, but the traditional office worker hasn't been a large percentage of pre-COVID ridership in a very long time (and it varies by route -- like Main MAX, which is why that's now running every 30m). Routes like 31 and 39, which don't serve downtown, are nearly at pre-COVID ridership levels even with reduced service.

Even the Johnson County changes proposed for this year are less focused on the downtown commuter and more on the essential jobs along Metcalf, 75th, 87th, 95th, and at KU Med.

But, yes, it would impact a system that's growing or a city with serious parking or congestion issues.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

Post by KCPowercat »

earthling wrote: Mon Jan 24, 2022 4:24 pm ^Just one source, will try to find others as there are lots of ways to measure...
https://seekingalpha.com/article/447816 ... he-sunbelt

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Thanks. I'm not clear if their 100% would represent their entire building being full or just expected entrance based on whatever that building's occupancy is leased out.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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^I'm thinking 100% means all employees who have a keycard/fob, but it's not clear.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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NYC mayor calling for reduction in remote work, impacting city too much...
https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/ne ... s-economy-
“Too many of our jobs are being, one, we’re recruiting people from outside the city. Number two, we have too many New Yorkers who are not in the city, and they’re carrying out jobs remotely, and it’s draining our economy,” he added. “So we’re doing a full push to get people back to work, get jobs back here in the city, train our young people so they can be employed, so we can turn around these numbers.”
...
A poll conducted by the Partnership for New York City between Feb. 17 and March 11, however, found concerns about safety on city streets and public transit were “the single biggest obstacle to mobilizing the return to work in the city’s office buildings.”

Of the public transit commuters the poll surveyed, 74% said transit safety had “gotten worse” since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
The most significantly noticeable example for KC is Cerner, more than 65% of new job openings appear to allow for remote from anywhere and rising, not having to live in KC metro. The City probably needs to proactively respond to this as when Oracle takes over, the default action may be to accelerate this.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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LOL that will fall on deaf ears as companies struggle to fill open jobs, so they are compelled to offer remote work to stay competitive.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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In NYC's case not sure what can be done but in KC's Cerner case, restructuring Bannister incentives for data centers would help as they have more permanency and big ticket long term investments and KC can entice a downtown presence for Health HQ (W&R building?) if not another Oracle hub at least on paper even though workers technically may be anywhere. At least should try some options for the top private employer in metro. If Cerner local employment is going to reduce significantly, at least get some of it downtown.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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earthling wrote: Thu Mar 31, 2022 5:15 pm In NYC's case not sure what can be done but in KC's Cerner case, restructuring Bannister incentives for data centers would help as they have more permanency and big ticket long term investments and KC can entice a downtown presence for Health HQ (W&R building?) if not another Oracle hub at least on paper even though workers technically may be anywhere. At least should try some options for the top private employer in metro. If Cerner local employment is going to reduce significantly, at least get some of it downtown.
I don't have the numbers, but I'd be willing to bet KC metro overall is benefitting from the remote work. I know sooooo many peers who moved back here now because they don't have to live in Chicago, NYC, Bay Area for work now. Sure, we might take a loss with Cerner jobs, but I think we gain everywhere else.

And that's probably a huge reason why NYC is pissed
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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^Yep count me in for that. I worked in service industry and just found a new job here meanwhile my wife kept her same job out of NYC and her company is permanently remote.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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^Given some with a KC-based job also have opportunity to move elsewhere it's not certain. KC metro showed some slight net domestic gains in 2021 but doesn't seem to be anything significant, most other years have had higher net domestic gain. It appeared maybe over summer with the huge labor force gain that might have been the case but by Jan it didn't show it's the case. Anecdotally it may seem so but the data at this point isn't supporting any significant net gains of remote workers.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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earthling wrote: Thu Mar 31, 2022 5:30 pm ^Given some with a KC-based job also have opportunity to move elsewhere it's not certain. KC showed some slight net domestic gains in 2021 but doesn't seem to be anything significant, most other years have had higher net domestic gain. It appeared maybe over summer with the huge labor force gain that might have been the case but by Jan it didn't show it's the case. Anecdotally it may seem so but the data at this point isn't supporting any significant net gains of remote workers, at least through mid-2021.
Within the Covid era, even a slight domestic gain can be huge relatively speaking.

Alot of the people who moved here for jobs are from Iowa, Nebraska, St. Louis, rural area's , etc. that they don't want to move back to.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

Post by FlippantCitizen »

Hard to argue with data but the dynamic of lower housing costs here and better wages in more competitive metros where remote jobs might be based makes it hard to believe that we see a net loss of of resident workers to to other metros even if their work remains remote. If anything whatever work from home bump KC might have seen is now over and that signal is getting lost in the noise of other dynamics like new jobs being offered (Cerner) being taken by people who never lived here at all. Very speculative and hard to disentangle though.
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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^Not at net loss but not really much of a net domestic gain for the metro at least in 2021, but yes better than most metros outside the south (and not better than Indy/Columbus). This is Metro data sorted by birth rate but see last column for net domestic gains. Denver with a net domestic loss is pretty surprising.

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https://www2.census.gov/programs-survey ... -comp.xlsx
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Re: Remote work impact on transit

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About 40 metro's on this list^, and only 15 of them showed gains. KC was one of the 15. Relatively speaking, even a modest gain is big.
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