America’s public transit doesn’t just need a one-time bailout – it needs consistent federal funding.

A public bus drives down Masonic Avenue in San Francisco with no passengers

Transit funding cuts of the Reagan era

A sampling of news headlines from the 1980s.

How much of the public transit funding gap did the
federal government cover in 1978 vs. today?

Sources: National Urban Mass Transportation Statistics — 1979, NTD Profiles at

Less transit service, higher fares

Many Muni lines’ wait times increased since 1981. In the AM peak period, for example, the 19 Polk went from 8 to 15 minutes.
Muni fares have massively outpaced inflation since 1975.
Calculated with Bay Area CPI. View sources
Chart: San Francisco Muni’s Share of Transit Subsidy Paid for by Federal Government over time.
Sources: City of San Francisco Annual Reports, American Public Transit Association, and

How a crisis prompted federal investment in transit

In the early 1970s, a gas station is closed due to a gasoline shortage. Source: National Archives

It’s not just COVID-19

Creator of and designer at Remix.

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Chris Arvin

Chris Arvin

Creator of and designer at Remix.

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