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SAN DIEGO (CNS) – A report released Thursday by Circulate San Diego found that nearly 16,000 essential workers in the region commute to work every day by public transportation, underscoring the importance of transit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the nonprofit transit advocacy group, nearly 25% of the region’s essential workers do not own a vehicle and 30% of San Diego County’s highway maintenance workers rely on public transit every day.

Circulate San Diego said it utilized data provided by the national advocacy organization TransitCenter to determine how many transit riders rely on transit to get to essential jobs in the San Diego region.

“These figures show just how vital the Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District are for getting us through this pandemic,” a Circulate San Diego statement reads.

Circulate San Diego is a nonprofit group which advocates for improved mobility, including public transportation.

The nearly 16,000 essential workers in the San Diego region who are currently commuting to work on the region’s buses, trains and ferries include 2,500 janitorial workers and 2,000 food preparation workers, the report says.

Those 16,000 essential workers comprise 35% of those who normally commute aboard Metropolitan Transit System and North County Transit District vehicles, according to pre-pandemic data.

San Diego’s transit agencies have experienced steep ridership declines amid the coronavirus outbreak, but they continue to carry a significant portion of essential commuters, according to the study.

MTS buses are carrying less than a third of the usual ridership and the trolley is carrying 60% fewer riders than usual. The NCTD is currently carrying 27% of its usual riders.

A copy of the report can be read at