What will commuting in 2021 look like?

girl riding bus to work commuting in 2021

As the year comes to a close, employees and employers alike might be left wondering what to expect from commuting in 2021. Will the remote work trend continue? What will the effect be on mass transit systems and parking services, which have already seen major hits in metropolitan areas?

Let’s review the biggest change COVID-19 brought to commuting in 2020 and how employees can prepare for commuting in 2021.

Remote Work Up☝️, Mass Transit Use Down?

According to WIRED, large cities across the nation are hurting due to the precipitous drop in ridership.

  • The MTA has seen a 70% drop in daily riders in 2020. It might have to cut service by 40 to 50 percent and lay off more than 9,000 workers
  • San Francisco Bay Area’s BART system faces a $200 million shortfall through next summer
  • The DC Metro system won’t be able to run trains on weeknights past 9 pm—or at all on weekends

It’s not looking like these trends will be going away, given that the majority of managers are planning to support remote work arrangements as a new normal in the future.

Even if ridership starts to creep back up in 2021, it is unlikely transit systems in major metro areas will be able to fully recover from the losses of 2020.

For those who are planning to commute in 2021, what should they expect?

Preparing for Commuting in 2021

Focusing on safety through new technology

If riders, either by choice or out of necessity, use mass transit (including vanpooling services) and parking areas to commute in 2021, they should be aware of a new technology-based option that will add a layer of safety: contactless payments through digital wallets. Safe and Secure. 

Many employees may be familiar with contactless payments for everyday use at big-box retailers or commercial shopping centers. Most people think of the near-field-communication (NFC) symbol on their card when they hear the term “contactless payments.” But certain industries, including the benefits industry, are taking contactless payments a step further with digital wallet compatibility.

Digital wallet options for benefit payments? What’s next? Meeting George Jetson?

How it works

Digital wallets have garnered more attention from card carriers like Mastercard. Thanks to this, using digital wallets for benefits payments is now a possibility within reach for employees using company benefits, including commuter accounts.

Advantages of digital wallets:

  • promotes safely by reducing physical exposure to publicly used items
  • more secure transactions because payment information isn’t shared with merchants or stored on the device
  • provides convenient access to the right funds at the right time with Beniversal Prepaid Mastercard

See more about this trend and the role it will play in commuting in 2021.

Tracking local trends in 2021

Give your employees the tools to stay up to date on commuting changes in their city with the CBP Resource Center.