Traveling by public transport is slowly becoming more common again

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Public transport is not nearly as much travel as before the corona virus outbreak, but the absolute low point is already months behind us.

It turns out from the check-in figures that the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) and public transport chip card company Translink maintain. This concerns the check-in data of travelers who have an anonymous, personal or business public transport chip card. These figures are higher than the number of travelers, because a traveler often checks in and out several times a day.

Check-ins slumped

After March 12 of this year, the number of check-ins dropped completely. On March 10, the last Tuesday before the lockdown, checks were carried out 4.73 million times. The following Tuesday (after the government measures were announced on Thursday, March 12), only 1 million checks were made. Only people who had to take public transport because of their profession or other urgent reason were allowed to take the train, bus or tram.

Low point: 90 percent lower

The all-time low came on May 5. On that day, 90 percent less checks were made than on the same day in 2019. This was also due to the fact that Liberation Day was a day off for many employees this year.

The months of March, April and May were dramatic for public transport and there was much less check-in in June than last year. For example, on Tuesday, June 30, 1.62 million times, 61 percent less than in 2019.

Line up

That changed from July 1, when everyone was allowed to use public transport again. Due to the holiday season, it was still very quiet on the train, but the line up was started. After July 1, the number of check-ins never dropped more than 60 percent per day from the same day last year.

That positive development for the ailing public transport companies has continued so far, with check-in numbers hovering around half the number of pre-corona check-ins.

Support government

That may give the treasury a windfall. State Secretary Stientje van Veldhoven (Infrastructure and Water Management, D66) is helping the sector out with 1.5 billion euros. This is intended to absorb the costs that companies have to incur to run all trains and buses.

The government bears 93 percent of those costs, the remaining 7 percent the public transport companies have to pay themselves. A condition of this support: every euro that companies bring in thanks to passenger transport is deducted from the government support. And so every traveler is extra beneficial for the treasury.

And that may also apply to next year’s budget, which will be presented with Prinsjesdag. Unions want a support package of 1.6 billion euros for next year, to compensate all costs. If the number of check-ins remains more or less the same as the current level, only half is needed in the end.

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