The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on public transport.The use of public transport has also led to the spread of COVID-19.
On 23 January 2020, the entire Wuhan Metro network was shut down, along with all other public transport in the city, including national railway and air travel, to halt the spread of the virus.On January 24, 2020, the day after the lockdown was declared in the city of Wuhan, the Beijing Subway began testing body temperature of passengers at the entry points of 55 subway stations including the three main railway stations and the capital airport. Temperature checks were expanded to all subway stations by January 27. To further control the spread of the virus, certain Line 6 trains were outfitted with smart surveillance cameras that can detect passengers who are not wearing masks.
In the Philippines, public transportation has been suspended in Luzon as part of the implementing measures of the enhanced community quarantine.In the absence of public transport, citizens could only resort to private vehicle, but the critical role played by public transport cannot be replaced fully by private vehicles.On 20 March, free public transportation for people 65 years of age or older was temporarily suspended in Balıkesir, Konya and Malatya to encourage them to stay at home.A day later, similar measures started to be imposed in Ankara, Antalya and İzmir.On 24 March, it was announced that public transportation vehicles that work in and across the cities could fill up only 50% of their capacity with people at a time.
Based on data released by Transit, France saw the largest decrease in use of public transport. This included a 92 percent decrease in Lyon and an 85 percent decrease in Nice. Bus, plane and train services were reduced in the United Kingdom. Public transport use has declined by around 90% in London since the national coronavirus lockdown was implemented. London’s mayor Sadiq Khan has made all bus travel free from Monday, April 20 and told passengers to only board by the middle doors in a bid to protect bus drivers, after 20 of them died from the coronavirus. From June 15 it is compulsory to wear a face covering on public transport in England.
Based on data released by Transit, demand for public transport in Canada dropped an average of 83 percent in late March compared to previous years.On March 17, the Edmonton Transit Service started using Saturday schedules for all of its routes 7 days a week. On April 1, Calgary Transit also reduced service.In Saskatoon, ridership had dropped by over 80 percent by March 30. On April 14, TransLink said they were losing C$75 million per month and would need emergency funding or be forced to cut large amounts of local servicesIn Montreal, the Metro reported an 80 percent drop in ridership by March 26. In the northern suburb of Laval, the STL had cut 45 percent of local bus service.
According to Government Technology, “Steep declines in ridership during the crisis have pushed public transit systems across the U.S. into deep financial distress.”Kim Hart of Axios wrote, “Public transit systems across the country are experiencing a painful trifecta: Ridership has collapsed, funding streams are squeezed, and mass transit won’t bounce back from the pandemic nearly as fast as other modes of transportation.
The Verge reported a 18.65 percent ridership decline on the New York City Subway system for March 11 compared to one year prior. New York City Bus ridership decreased 15 percent, Long Island Rail Road ridership decreased 31 percent, and Metro-North Railroad ridership decreased 48 percent. Sound Transit, operating in the Seattle metropolitan area, saw a 25 percent decrease in ridership in February compared to January, and the city’s ferry ridership saw a 15 percent decline on March 9 compared to one week prior.In order to prevent the spread of the virus on board buses and rail vehicles, some transit agencies have implemented temporary limits on the number of passengers allowed on a vehicle and others have begun to require riders to wear face masks.