How has covid changed public transport?

A new report from Arriva reveals all…

Big Zero Report 2023

How does the world of public transport shape up following the pandemic?

Arriva Group has released a new report that looks into this, as well as how transport can be reimagined to tackle issues such as climate change.

More than half of the people surveyed across many countries in the report said they now expect to be commuting to their office or place of work less than five times a week, something relatively unimaginable before COVID-19.

The paper highlights that this will not only mean less people travelling into the city but more people in their local areas and therefore may result in more public transport having to be available in local regions to cater for this shift.

Maintaining safety measures and ensuring they are visible to the public is considered vital in the report, to keep the number of people using public transport at a high level. It stresses that governments and transport authorities have a key role to play in ensuring passengers are aware of their safety and also the positive environmental implications taking public transport can have.

Technology is also deemed crucial to keep people informed of the latest updates to their routes and services – more people are travelling using different routes or avoiding peak times to limit their chance of contracting the virus and for comfort.

Image: Bjoern Wylezich / Shutterstock

A positive impact of the pandemic has been on active travel such as cycling and walking – levels have spiked since March of last year and the study does not see this number changing.

The paper not only considers digital solutions and real-time information as crucial for the maintenance of the transport sector but also to accelerate its decarbonisation.

It does, however, claim that the sector will never be able to decarbonise without the appropriate funding to match government commitments.

Mike Cooper, CEO, said: “Arriva’s position as one of Europe’s leading public transport companies means we have experienced first-hand, the impact of the pandemic on our societies and economies.

“Our sector has been particularly hard hit but we’ve also adapted quickly and fulfilled a vital role.

“We can sit and hope for things to return to ‘normal’ – or we can respond to the evolved needs of passengers, build a better and more sustainable future for our communities and act as strategic partners to our transport authorities. Our ambition is to truly thrive in this new world.”

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