Toll tags show Bay Bridge traffic has recovered to pre-pandemic levels while transit ridership still lags


Bay Bridge weekday traffic counts, as reported through westbound toll tags, have returned to pre-pandemic levels across all hours of the day. The average number of cars passing through the toll plaza on weekdays between 8am and 9am fell from 7,800 pre-pandemic (Feb 2020) to 4,900 during April 2020, the first full month of the stay-at-home order. As of June 2021, the average number of cars crossing the Bay Bridge westbound between 8am and 9am is back up to 7,700. As shown in the chart above, this return to pre-pandemic weekday traffic volumes holds true across all hours of the day.


As of June 2021, average weekday westbound transbay BART trips are 18% of their pre-pandemic norm, suggesting that many who have returned to work are choosing to drive. As more of the regional workforce returns to the office, enabling transit agencies to offer schedules that make the transit system a realistic commute option, including full service, frequency of connections, and availability of routes offered, as well as robustly communicating to pre-pandemic riders about the safety protocols now in place, are essential steps toward ensuring that traffic does not outpace the congested road conditions the region faced prior to the pandemic.