Prague's metro loses millions of passengers due to pandemic

Because of curfew, more people staying home and fear of catching Covid-19, 12 million people fewer used the metro system than the same time last year.

Samantha Tatro

Written by Samantha Tatro Published on 20.11.2020 10:06:00 (updated on 25.11.2020) Reading time: 2 minutes

The number of people using Prague's metro has dropped significantly since September, according to one report.

More than five million people stopped using the metro between September and October this year when pandemic restrictions went into place, according to a report from Prague Transport Company (DPP).

The loss of passengers will likely result in a big drop in revenue this year: an estimated 1.2 billion Crowns in 2020, according to DPP.

In September, 18.9 million people used the metro, but by October, the number had dropped to just 13.5 million people. Last year, more than 32 million passengers used the metro, marking a sharp drop off this year in passengers.

The biggest drop off in passengers happened after curfew started at 21:00 at the end of October.

The numbers don't look much better for November, either. From Nov. 1 to Nov. 18, an estimated 5.5 million people used the Prague metro. This is 12 million people fewer than the same time last year.

"This week, after several weeks of stagnant passenger numbers, however, [the numbers] are increasing. We hope that this trend will continue. We do everything to make our public transport passengers feel safe," said Deputy Mayor Adam Scheinherr (Prague Sobě).

Most people will spend about 15 minutes on their commute using the metro, officials said. If they change lines or use different means of transport, it may take up to an average of 30 minutes.

Officials said commuting on the metro during the pandemic can be safe.

"According to various world studies, 15 or 30 minutes, according to various world studies, observe basic hygiene rules, such as wearing masks, and the probability of Covid-19 infection is very low in public transport. Public transport in the form in which it travels is therefore completely safe," said DPP spokeswoman Aneta Řehková today.

Public transport across Prague saw a big drop in passengers for the first time in March, during the first lockdown.

This time around, several restrictions remain in place for passengers in addition to the limited schedule. For example, you cannot buy tickets through bus drivers and you cannot board through the front door of the bus or trams in Prague. In addition, you must wear a face mask that covers your mouth and your nose while on public transit and while waiting at bus stops.

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