What’s next for public transport after Coronavirus?

17th July 2020

There isn’t a single industry in the country that hasn’t been affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, whether that’s for better or worse. It’s safe to say that during the height of the lockdown, our colleagues in the public transport industry have taken a heavy knock, with hugely reduced capacity leaving some services empty or non-existent. As the lockdown restrictions continue to ease over the coming weeks and months, the UK transport industry faces a huge battle to find what the ‘new normal’ is. So, what happens next? 

Incremental capacity increase.

One of the biggest challenges faced by the industry as a whole is returning to capacity whilst social distancing measures are still in play. The average double-decker bus carries roughly 87 passengers. Throw in 2m social distancing and this is vastly reduced to 20. With the introduction of the 1m + guidelines, this increases to 30. 

However, the issue is that the cost of running the service remains the same. Even if transport systems can regain a percentage of their usual passengers, there’s still a hue question mark over how to recover a large proportion of their annual funding. Transport for London are currently receiving a £1.6bn bailout from the government, but what happens when this funding runs out come September? Fundamentally, it’ll be a difficult process to make the systems profitable until 100% capacity is back on the cards. 

Investment in better air quality 

Many disgruntled passengers have been calling for better air conditioning infrastructure across transport systems for years. This has usually been due to soaring temperatures during the summer months. However, now companies may have to look at taking the leap to installing more sophisticated ventilation systems as a matter of public safety. 

Studies suggest that while social distancing may be difficult on aeroplanes, their air quality actually surpasses their bus and train counterparts. Might we see these companies adopting their airborne colleague’s approach to improving air quality in the future? 

Increased pedestrianised areas in cities. 

Since the pandemic, there’s been an increase in those using their cars for journeys they might not have done before. However, there’s also been a positive increase in those walking and cycling to their destinations. This may present further challenges to the public transport industry in the future; retaining their previous passengers. 

This being said, companies are constantly making advancements in greener technology to make the industry more environmentally sustainable. We discussed this in more detail in a previous blog. From bringing back the tram systems to fleets of electric buses, transport is constantly using the latest innovations to leave a positive stamp.  

No matter what, it’s crucial to keep the country moving. The key workers within the transport industry have been critical in helping those on the medical frontline get to work safely. At ixRM, we help transport companies to streamline their processes to aid communication with passengers and keep them up to date with the latest information. Contact us today to find out how we can work together as we all find our way through the next few months.

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