Study shows pandemic leaves long-lasting effects on public transport in Sweden

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The new work and travel habits that have been established as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic persist and may become the new normal, a new study on the impact of the coronavirus on work and travel habits carried out by Transdev Sweden in collaboration with Yougov in September has shown. The operator recently announced that 250 jobs are at risk as a result of staff reductions in the country.

As many as 42% of the respondents said that they work or study from home to a greater extent and every fifth person said that they have changed their travel habits during the pandemic. 50% of those who currently work from home said they intend to continue with it even after the pandemic is over, which corresponds to an increase of 14% compared with a survey in May.

The survey showed the same trend can be seen for travel habits, with just over 20% of those who have changed their travel habits during the pandemic not planning to return to their normal mode of transport when the pandemic is over, again an increase on previous figures.

“The longer the pandemic lasts and the restrictions apply, the more they characterise our habits. We see that Swedes are getting used to their new work and travel habits and that we will probably not be able to return to everyday life that applied before the pandemic began. This new reality requires that we who work with mobility and travel together find new flexible solutions in services and agreements,” said Anna Höjer, CEO of Transdev Sweden.

The public transport industry across Sweden is facing approximately 3.5bn SEK of revenue losses per year.

Of those who stated that under normal circumstances they usually travel collectively to work or school, 34% say that they have changed their mode of transportation during the pandemic, and despite the fact that the fear of being infected in public transportation is decreasing, as many as 13% of those who under normal circumstances usually travel by public transportation to work or school state that they will not, or do not know if they will, return to public transit after the pandemic. This is a doubling compared to the survey conducted just four months ago.

“The positive thing is that 60% of public transit passengers state that they will continue to travel by public transportation when the pandemic is over. But the fact that as many as 13% state that they are unlikely to return to public transportation after the pandemic is worrying, this would correspond to a loss of revenue of about 3.5bn SEK (approximately €334m) per year for the entire Swedish industry. Less public transportation means fewer alternatives for people to be able to travel sustainably, the risk is that car travel increases but also that a reduced supply can lead to increased gaps in society. Such a development would be to take a step back for Sweden’s investments in both the environment and integration,” continued Anna.

The survey found that 61% of people had switched to shopping online, while 47% opted to cancel a journey. 52% reported increased car use, and 37% said that they cycle and walk more.