Upstate transit systems like the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority are starting to see a return to something resembling normalcy as more businesses reopen and people head back to work. 

But ridership in the Rochester area is still down, said Bill Carpenter, the president and CEO of the authority, in an interview Thursday on Capital Tonight. 

In many instances, some riders who were on bus routes five days a week might now be taking the bus three days a week. Mask compliance has been high, and federal aid has helped to offset losses in revenue for the system. 

But what will it take to bring riders back to mass transit in upstate communities? The argument transit systems can make is how they will be positioned in the coming years to be an alternative to cars, and a way of helping to curtail the cumulative effects of climate change, Carpenter said.