As COVID becomes "manageable" and a condition "we live with", this Times Dealbook
piece becomes quite relevant. The essence as I see it, is a struggle between the knowledge workers and the bosses. I think it is analogous to the "Unionization movement" during the '30's:
Some corporate leaders are grasping at whatever they can to get back to the way things were. But they might find themselves fighting a culture shift beyond their control.
As long as work has existed, employers have tried to size up their employees’ commitment to their jobs. Are you on the fast track? The mommy track? The leadership track?
Now, if some corporate leaders have their way, there will be a new test for workplace devotion — and anyone who opts for remote work gets a failing grade. But can C.E.O.s really claw their way back to 2019?
While the bosses have enough evidence on hand that knowledge workers can be just as productive WFH, their egos "take a hit" in that they cannot call some useless meeting (isn't that now a "huddle" in new officespeak) and otherwise simply "be a boss".
But to the parties in interest - the business district restaurants, "watering holes", the Bootblack, and of primary interest to those gathering here, the commuter railroads, it is simply "one more nail in the coffin".
Sooner or later in the New York area, MNRR and the LIRR (maybe even NJT) will have to accept they cannot support maybe a busload of passengers on half hour frequency trains. On my trip "out East" last month, I did do about an hour of railfanning at Riverside CT (no room ready at the hotel); all told, could not see "too many faces in the windows, butts in the seats".
Back here, METRA, with a fair amount of new equipment on order and with hourly service through the day on the BNSF, is now trying out a $100 monthly "anywhere pass". The "Four Zone" monthly pass (20 miles) was about $145. All I can see is a dilution of revenue, and not much in the way of attracting new riders.
Out in San Francisco, which has seen the greatest Exodus from the office, who knows what the fate of the Peninsula line will be? That too is being rebuilt, but along the lines of an Interurban. Only problem; while I could be mistaken on this point as I haven't "been out there" in over thirty years (not a boycott; just no reason), I don't think any of the "Temples to Technology" are exactly convenient to the former SP rail line.