In the first half-year of 2020, the number of passengers carried in buses and trains on regional routes was 15.84 million, down by nearly 33% YoY, according to the Road Transport Administration.
The volume of bus route network also reduced, because buses routes were not automatically organized after the end of the state of emergency. Each bus route is considered separately. The volume of passenger railway routes remains the same as before the state of emergency.
Prior to the state of emergency the number of passengers was similar to the one observed last year. During the state of emergency, the number has decreased significantly. The biggest decline observed in the first half-year, when compared to last year’s period, was for intercity routes and local routes in Vidzeme, where the number of passengers declined by 35%.
In Riga region the number of passengers declined by 34%, in Zemgale numbers by 33%, in Latgale by 31% and in Kurzeme – by almost 18%.
The number of passengers carried in trains declined by 31%.
The number of passengers declined significantly following the announcement of a state of emergency in Latvia. The number of passengers carried in buses on regional routes has been gradually increasing since mid-May. In April, compared to the same period of 2019, the number of passengers declined by 68%, in May – by 58% and in June – by 37%. Currently, when compared to the time prior to the state of emergency, it has recovered by approximately 75%. Residents use public transport services the most often to get to work, state and municipal institutions and stores.
Bus activity in the route network declined by 7% in the first half-year of 2020, reaching approximately 36.17 million km. The number of bus runs currently, when compared to the same period of 2019, has declined very slightly – 1,058 routes and 7,498 runs as opposed to 1,060 routes and 7,545 bus runs. Three new routes and 220 bus runs were opened and two routes and 181 runs were cancelled in the first half-year of 2020. Various changes were added to 1,951 routes.
Massive changes were performed for the route network during the state of emergency. This was done in response to the rapid decline of passenger numbers. On March 24, a total of 16 train routes were cancelled. There was also a reduction of cargo cars running on specific routes. The biggest decline of railway transports was observed in April, when the number of kilometers covered by railway cars declined by 8.5%. Since mid-March, however, a total of 1,900 scheduled bus runs have been cancelled (on weekdays and weekends). Approximately 800 of them have yet to be reopened. Not all bus routes were automatically restarted after the end of the state of emergency, because the number of passengers still has not returned to the level observed at the beginning of the year or the same period of last year.
Although restrictions for public transport services were lifted on July 1, the Road Traffic Administration urges residents to maintain a safe distance from other passengers, as well as wear protective facemasks. (BNN/Business World Magazine)