James Li, a public relations account director, would rather spend an hour sitting in Beijing traffic than risk 30 minutes exposed to crowds on a train.

"Traffic is as bad as it could be" but the subway is still too dicey," he said.

In Frankfurt, real estate assistant Anna Pawliczek is driving to work for the first time in her career. "I definitely have always preferred to chill out in the train, instead of being stuck at traffic lights," she said.

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The New Normal: Commuters Abandon Public Transit Over Coronavirus Fears

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