The fear of catching COVID-19 continues to weigh on the use of public transport and propping up the car. 60% of users admit that they have reduced their trips by metro, train or bus as these media feel unsafe, according to a study by Andaira and Ecologistas en Acción.
"More than half of the people would use public transport more if sanitary security measures were implemented," the analysis concludes. However, without these measures still in place, up to 19% of citizens admit that they have switched to private cars due to the pandemic. This does not imply that they never ride the train anymore, but it does mean that they have changed their habits and now prefer to move around with their private motor vehicle.
The public transportation took a severe hit from the 2020 lockdown to stop the spread of COVID-19. He has not recovered. The drop in users continues at around 40%. That means many people who do not move, or do it as little as possible, in the collective media. The transfer to the car completes a panorama with consequences on air pollution and the fluidity of mobility. "Health insecurity is transversal. It occurs in a similar way between social groups", explains this document.
On the other hand, when deciding to switch to your own car, the fact of having a vehicle and being able to use it when desired in addition to the size of the population also has an influence: the smaller ones have favored the change from public to private, according to this work.
Give up moving to avoid collective transport
In this image crisis, the subway is the worst offender. 42% of people believe that it is little or very unsafe when it comes to avoiding infection with SARS-CoV-2. 34% think the same of trains and trams. In the case of the bus, 23% of citizens see a health hazard.
With that fear on top, the way in which the Spanish population moves is changing. And what is losing is public transport. In this way, 84% of people in populations of more than 50,000 inhabitants have modified the guidelines regarding visiting friends or family, their leisure or sports to avoid public transport. In fact, almost half have stopped doing some of these activities and a third, at least, have reduced them. 55% admit that they have also changed their journeys to go to work or study with the same idea: to use less collective media.
All these changes in the way of getting around are reflected in the weight that each transport mobility now has in the general mobility of Spanish populations. And the analysis of those percentages show how collective options have lost strength.
The bus, for example, accounted for 20% of the total before the pandemic, and now it is at 14%. The metro has fallen from 10% to 8%. Meanwhile, the private vehicle (car or motorcycle) has gained ground: from 18.8 to 23.6%. The conclusion is quick: "Private vehicles have gained greater prominence among the journeys that continue to be made today, to the detriment of the group." The increase in journeys on foot completes the picture: the "walking" option has gone from being 30 to 34%. The bicycle has changed little and increases from 5.5% of trips to 6.2%. The commitment to cycling mobility in Spain has not accelerated in the pandemic context.
Requests: fewer seats and more frequency
At the same time, users put duties on public transport managers because there is a predisposition to return to the bus or metro, but with conditions. They ask for health security measures.
The preferred option is to leave unused spaces and seats to avoid sitting next to another person (61.5%); the second that the vehicles were disinfected more (60%); the third increase ventilation - and reduce heating. It also highlights the request for more frequency of passage so that wagons or cars could be less full.
In light of these data, the person in charge of Transport at Ecologistas en Acción, Carmen Duce, insists that the administrations must "attend to the fears of the population" and implement the necessary measures to "guarantee health security and increase the use of public transport ".