How has COVID-19 impacted mobility in Barcelona?
Posted: 13 May 2020 | Sam Mehmet (Intelligent Transport)
More than 500 people participated in an open session by video conference on the TMB’s actions during the COVID-19 crisis and discussed possible future scenarios for mobility in Barcelona.
The President of Barcelona’s primary transport operator, Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB), Rosa Alarcón, recently led a session titled ‘The management of the COVID-19 at TMB: perspectives and challenges’, in which he outlined how COVID-19 has impacted mobility in the city.
Alarcón thanked the entire staff for the effort they are making to respond to the needs of public transport in Barcelona and the surrounding municipalities and stressed the need to regain the trust of citizens to use public transport again.
The CEO, Gerardo Lertxundi, then detailed the impact the health crisis has had on people in Barcelona, the organisation, and mobility in general, and how the operator is preparing for the new reality once the crisis eases.
In terms of health , the CEO highlighted the measures taken and the resources mobilised to prevent spread among employees, and stressed that there are currently no workers that have tested positive for the virus.
Lertxundi highlighted the coordination framework with other public transport operators, through the Metropolitan Transport Authority, as essential to the continuation of services.
The second block of the conference was dedicated to the analysis of mobility, both before the crisis and during, as well as drawing on perspectives for the future. Lertxundi said that both TMB and the transport system as a whole in the Barcelona region closed 2019 with record numbers of demand, with indications that they would be surpassed this year. The priority was, therefore, to increase transport capacity, in the context of the implementation of the low-emission zone.
However, he noted that lockdown restrictions reduce ridership in some areas by as much as 94 per cent. He said the future could hold many possible scenarios, depending on how the economic crisis unfolds, but decreases in demand for TMB networks could reach -34.3 per cent and 130.9 million annual validations.
The CEO pointed out that, despite the difficulties, “public transport continues to be essential for sustainable mobility,” both during and after the crisis, and that it is necessary to promote public confidence through effective health protection measures.
Transports Metropolitans de Barcelona (TMB)