Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on public transport

Red stickers placed every other seat in a Moscow Metro train encourage social distancing

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.[1][2]

AsiaEdit

 
Disinfection of Tehran Metro trains against coronavirus
 
Ultra-violet lights are used to disinfect trains in Moscow, Russia

ChinaEdit

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.[3][4][5][6]

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.[7] Temperature checks were expanded to all subway stations by January 27.[8] 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.[9]

On 28 March 2020, six lines (Line 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7) resumed operation, after a two-month lockdown. Line 8, Line 11, and the Yangluo Line remain out of service.[10]

On 8 April 2020, Phase 1 of Line 8 resumed operation. Services on Phase 3 of Line 8, as well as Line 11 and the Yangluo Line, remain suspended.[11]

IndiaEdit

Various Indian states announced local and state level partial and incremental transport shutdown as early as March 11, 2020. India observed a complete lockdown including all trains, buses, airlines, cars, auto rickshaw for 14 hours on March 22, 2020. A nationwide complete lockdown for three weeks (21 days) was then announced, beginning midnight March 25, 2020.[12]

IndonesiaEdit

Restrictions have been implemented to public transport in Jakarta, Indonesia.[13]

PhilippinesEdit

In the Philippines, public transportation has been suspended in Luzon as part of the implementing measures of the enhanced community quarantine.[14]

TurkeyEdit

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.[15] A day later, similar measures started to be imposed in Ankara, Antalya and İzmir.[16][17] 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.[18]

EuropeEdit

FranceEdit

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.[19]

United KingdomEdit

Bus, plane and train services were reduced in the United Kingdom.[20]

North AmericaEdit

CanadaEdit

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.[19] On March 17, the Edmonton Transit Service started using Saturday schedules for all of its routes 7 days a week.[21] On April 1, Calgary Transit also reduced service.[22] In Saskatoon, ridership had dropped by over 80 percent by March 30.[23]

Ridership on the Toronto Area's two largest transit agencies - specifically Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and GO Transit - had fallen 80 to 90 percent by April 13,[24] and both had reduced service and/or suspended routes. The TTC and GO Transit have suspended the ability for customers paying their fares with cash (or tokens in the case for TTC services) on their public transit buses until further notice. [25][26] 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 services[27] In 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.[28]

United StatesEdit

 
Interior of a TriMet bus in Portland, Oregon, with the majority of the seats marked by "Don't sit here" signs to enforce physical distancing among riders
 
Schedule display at a bus stop with sticker alerting riders to temporary service reductions for COVID-19

According to Government Technology, "Steep declines in ridership during the crisis have pushed public transit systems across the U.S. into deep financial distress."[29] 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."[30]

In Detroit, DDOT bus services were cancelled after drivers refused to work.[31]

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.[32] 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.[32] These declines became much more pronounced in late March and April, as widespread closures of schools and businesses and 'shelter-in-place' orders began to be implemented. USA Today reported in mid-April that demand for transit service was down by an average of 75 percent nationwide, with figures of 85% in San Francisco and 60% in Philadelphia.[33] Ridership on the Washington Metro was down 95 percent in late April.[34]

On April 7, SEPTA asked Philadelphia transit users to wear face masks starting on April 9. On April 13, the agency said the rule would not be enforced.[35]

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[36][37][33] and others have begun to require riders to wear face masks.[38][39] To reduce contact between drivers and passengers, several agencies have implemented rear-door-only boarding[34][40] and temporarily suspended the collection of fares,[33] examples including Seattle,[41] New York City buses,[42] and Denver.[40]

CaliforniaEdit

In California, Carson officials asked the Metro transit system to cease bus services in Los Angeles County.[43]

The San Diego Metropolitan Transit System (MTS) has reduced bus and Trolley services following ridership decreases.[44] A vote on MTS' proposal to expand public transit in San Diego may not be possible in 2020.[45]

Most services were shut down in San Francisco.[46]

New YorkEdit

 
Interim New York City Transit President Sarah Feinberg rides the subway, March 9

Beginning March 25, service on buses and subways was reduced due to decreased ridership during the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City.[47][48] In April 2020, four City Council members requested that subway service be temporarily suspended due to the spread of COVID-19 in the subway system.[49] In late March, NYCTA Interim President Sarah Feinberg stated that a shutdown "feels misguided to me" and was "not on the table".[50] Feinberg also spoke in favor of hazard pay for front-line workers.[50] The following month, Feinberg called the MTA "the most aggressive transit agency in the country in acting quickly and decisively to protect our workforce."[51] Starting in May 2020, stations were closed overnight for cleaning; the overnight closures would be a temporary measure that would be suspended once the pandemic was over.[52]

By April 22, 2020, COVID-19 had killed 83 agency employees; the agency announced that their families would be eligible for $500,000 in death benefits.[53][50] By May 1, 98 transit workers had died.[54]

Spread of the coronavirusEdit

The use of public transportation during the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic has been implicated in spreading the disease; "researchers found that a bus passenger infected fellow travellers sitting 4.5 metres away".[1] A study published in the academic journal Practical Preventive Medicine found that "in a closed environment with air-conditioning, the transmission distance of the new coronavirus will exceed the commonly recognised safe distance."[1]

For some time, trams in Milan continued to function despite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.[2] As the virus is spread from person to person, "one of the most common ways is through public and semi-private transport."[2]

In Israel, one rider who was a carrier of the coronavirus was apprehended "on a bus on its way to Jerusalem, on suspicion of deliberately spreading the disease."[55]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c Chen, Stephen (9 March 2020). "Coronavirus can travel twice as far as official 'safe distance', study says". South China Morning Post. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  2. ^ a b c Meisenzahl, Mary (26 February 2020). "Photos show what it's like to travel around the world by train, bus, boat, and plane in the age of coronavirus". Business Insider. Retrieved 20 April 2020.
  3. ^ "Public Transport In Wuhan Suspended Due To Coronavirus Concerns". NPR. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  4. ^ "Virus-hit Chinese city shuts public transport". BBC News. 23 January 2020. Retrieved 2020-01-23.
  5. ^ "Coronavirus: Wuhan shuts public transport over outbreak". BBC News. January 23, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  6. ^ Lovelace Jr., Berkeley (January 22, 2020). "Public transportation suspended in China city to combat coronavirus outbreak". CNBC. Archived from the original on March 13, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  7. ^ "北京道路省际客运今起全部停运" 北京青年报 26 January 2020.
  8. ^ (Chinese) "北京地铁将全路网推行测温 体温超37.3℃就需隔离" 人民网 27 January 2020.
  9. ^ Beijing's 'intelligent' metro line able to identify unmasked passengers. Xinhua News Agency via China News Service, 9 April 2020.
  10. ^ "Wuhan buses hit the road after two-month lockdown". Xinhua News Agency. 25 March 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-25.
  11. ^ Huang Lei;Wang Yang (7 April 2020). "武汉:4月8日起恢复出租车运营 适时恢复网约车运营". Hubei Daily.
  12. ^ Gettleman, Jeffrey; Schultz, Kai (March 24, 2020). "Modi Orders 3-Week Total Lockdown for All 1.3 Billion Indians". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  13. ^ "Indonesia Orders Coronavirus Transport Curbs as Death Toll Rises". The New York Times. Reuters. April 12, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  14. ^ Regan, Helen (March 17, 2020). "Malaysia and the Philippines enact sweeping measures, as coronavirus cases jump in Southeast Asia". CNN. Archived from the original on April 13, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  15. ^ "Belediyeler, 65 yaş üstüne ücretsiz ulaşımı durduruyor". memurlar.net. 20 March 2020. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  16. ^ "Ankara ve İzmir belediyeleri duyurdu: 65 yaş ve üstünün ücretsiz ulaşım kartları iptal edildi". Cumhuriyet. 21 March 2020. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  17. ^ "Antalya'da 65 yaş üstü ücretsiz ulaşım kartları durduruldu!". Sözcü. 21 March 2020. Archived from the original on 22 March 2020. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  18. ^ "Marketlere ve toplu taşıma araçlarına yönelik koronavirüs tedbirleri artırıldı". Anadolu Agency. 24 March 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  19. ^ a b "How COVID-19 is affecting public transit use". CBC News. March 27, 2020. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  20. ^ "Coronavirus: What's the risk of taking buses or trains?". BBC News. March 26, 2020. Archived from the original on April 5, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  21. ^ Mertz, Emily (March 16, 2020). "Coronavirus: Edmonton reduces public transit service as part of COVID-19 response". Global News. Corus Entertainment. Archived from the original on April 5, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  22. ^ Dormer, Dave (April 1, 2020). "Calgary Transit reducing frequency of buses and trains in response to COVID-19". CTV News. Bell Media. Archived from the original on April 4, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  23. ^ MacPherson, Alex (March 30, 2020). "Transit ridership plummets more than 80 per cent amid pandemic". Saskatoon StarPhoenix. Postmedia. Retrieved April 17, 2020.
  24. ^ Jeffords, Shawn (April 13, 2020). "Transit ridership, revenue in steep decline during COVID-19 pandemic | National Post". National Post. Postmedia. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  25. ^ "Coronavirus update". Toronto Transit Commission. Archived from the original on April 10, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  26. ^ "Train Schedule Changes". GO Transit. April 2020. Archived from the original on April 14, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  27. ^ "TransLink says it's losing $75M a month and faces 'really unpleasant options' without emergency funding". CBC News. Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. April 14, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  28. ^ Rowe, Daniel J.; Thomas, Katelyn (March 26, 2020). "Public transit agencies in the Montreal area cut services due to impact of COVID-19". CTV News. Bell Media. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  29. ^ Vijaya, Ramya (April 14, 2020). "Coronavirus Lockdowns Are Pushing Mass Transit Systems to the Brink – and Low-Income Riders Will Pay the Price". Government Technology. Archived from the original on April 14, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  30. ^ Hart, Kim (April 8, 2020). "Public transit's death spiral". Axios. Archived from the original on April 11, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  31. ^ Chappell, Bill; Romo, Vanessa (March 17, 2020). "Coronavirus: All 50 States Report Cases; South America Has Nearly 1,000 Cases". NPR. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  32. ^ a b Hawkins, Andrew J. (March 13, 2020). "Coronavirus is taking a big bite out of public transportation ridership in the US". The Verge. Archived from the original on March 29, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  33. ^ a b c Hughes, Trevor (April 14, 2020). "Poor, essential and on the bus: Coronavirus is putting public transportation riders at risk". USA Today. Archived from the original on May 3, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  34. ^ a b George, Justin (April 11, 2020). "For many 'essential workers,' public transit is a fearful ride they must take". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  35. ^ Hider, Alex (April 13, 2020). "Philadelphia public transit won't require masks after viral video shows cops carry man off bus". WEWS-TV. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  36. ^ Groover, Heidi (April 2, 2020). "Metro places passenger limits on buses to strengthen social distancing amid coronavirus outbreak". The Seattle Times. Archived from the original on April 29, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  37. ^ Theen, Andrew (April 22, 2020). "TriMet placing 'don't sit here' signs on bus seats, limiting passengers to 15 per bus". The Oregonian. Archived from the original on April 2, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  38. ^ Guse, Clayton (April 12, 2020). "NJ Transit riders required to wear masks during coronavirus pandemic, MTA still 'recommending' them". New York Daily News. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  39. ^ "LTD: 'Passengers need face masks covering nose and mouth to ride buses'". Eugene, Oregon: KVAL. April 7, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  40. ^ a b Minor, Nathaniel (April 3, 2020). "RTD To Stop Collecting Fares, Allow Rear-Door Boarding To Fight Coronavirus". Colorado Public Radio. Archived from the original on April 7, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  41. ^ Switzer, Jeff (March 21, 2020). "King County Metro to discontinue fare collections, direct riders to board buses at rear doors, beginning March 21". Seattle: King County Metro. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  42. ^ Layne, Nathan (May 1, 2020). "Overnight closure of New York subways may presage bigger changes". Reuters. Retrieved May 4, 2020.
  43. ^ Garcia, Sid (April 3, 2020). "Carson officials ask Metro to suspend transit service throughout LA County". KABC-TV. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  44. ^ Smith, Joshua Emerson (April 7, 2020). "MTS to cut service as bus driver tests positive for coronavirus". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved April 15, 2020.
  45. ^ Smith, Joshua Emerson (April 10, 2020). "Coronavirus threatens to derail San Diego's plans to expand public transit". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Archived from the original on April 13, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  46. ^ Canales, Katie (April 7, 2020). "Almost all of San Francisco's public transit will be shut down as the city continues to fight the coronavirus disease". Business Insider. Archived from the original on April 8, 2020. Retrieved April 14, 2020.
  47. ^ "Coronavirus New York: MTA launches essential schedule amid COVID-19 crisis". ABC7 New York (WABC-TV). March 24, 2020. Archived from the original on March 26, 2020. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  48. ^ "MTA Slashes Service, NJ Transit on Reduced Schedules". NBC New York. March 24, 2020. Archived from the original on March 26, 2020. Retrieved March 26, 2020.
  49. ^ "Gov. Cuomo urged to shut down NYC subways to stop coronavirus spread". New York Post. April 18, 2020.
  50. ^ a b c "Sarah Feinberg is focused on the subway's survival | CSNY". Cityandstateny.com. 2020-03-25. Retrieved 2020-04-23.
  51. ^ Meyer, David (April 20, 2020). "MTA chair passes blame to health officials as agency's coronavirus death toll tops 80". New York Post. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  52. ^ Goldbaum, Christina (2020-04-30). "N.Y.C.'s Subway, a 24/7 Mainstay, Will Close for Overnight Disinfection". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-04-30.
  53. ^ Guse, Clayton (14 April 2020). "MTA promises $500k in death benefits for coronvirus victims". NEW YORK DAILY NEWS. Retrieved 16 April 2020.
  54. ^ Guse, Clayton; Rayman, Graham (May 1, 2020). "MTA chairman says 98 transit workers dead from coronavirus". New York Post. Retrieved May 5, 2020.
  55. ^ "Virus carrier nabbed on bus to J'lem, accused of deliberately endangering public". The Times of Israel. 5 April 2020. Retrieved 20 April 2020.

External linksEdit