The ongoing COVID-19 epidemic notwithstanding, the passengers have returned to using railway services. After a huge fall in April and May, when the number of passengers decreased by 77% and 66% (comparing year to year), June was a month when the number of passengers did not fall by more than a half. 14.5 million passengers in June meant a decrease by 12.8 million in comparison to June of 2019. This means that on average almost 500 thousand passengers used railway services daily, where in April this value was at an average level of 200 thousand persons a day.
Transfer service in June amounted to 877 million passenger-kilometres and operational service - to 12.2 million train-kilometres (a decrease by 54.1% and 11.5% respectively). A relatively small decline of operational service shows both the resumption of previously suspended services by most of the carriers as well as as partial reintroduction of seasonal services. One should also notice a rising interest in long-distance connections. Average travel distance rose from 52 km in May to 60 km in June.
- Railways face a difficult challenge: how to convince the passengers that travelling by rail is safe in times of an epidemic. It is essential to maintain high standards of sanitary norms and use modern methods of disinfection of train carriages - remarks Mr. Ignacy Góra, Ph.D., the President of the Office of Rail Transport (Pol. Urząd Transportu Kolejowego, UTK). - During the holidays UTK's inspectors will conduct more than 170 additional train inspections. They will turn their attention to the cleanliness of carriages, whether there is a sufficient number of sanitary means inside toilets and whether the train crews are equipped with masks and disinfecting agents - he adds.
In the first half of 2020 more than 104 million passengers used railway services, what means a fall by almost 58 million (35.7%) in comparison to the corresponding period of last year. January and February showed an increasing interest in such services. However the COVID-19 epidemic has caused a decline in the mobility of Poles. Transfer service in the January-June 2020 period amounted to 6 billion passenger-kilometres and operational service - to 74.4 million train-kilometres. This means a decrease by 41.8% and 10.5% resepctively.
Full details of passenger transfers can be found in the Passenger transfer statistics section of UTK's website.
17.5 million tonnes of goods transported in June of 2020 means a result of almost 900 thousand tonnes higher than in the previous month. In comparison to June of 2019 this however means a decrease by 1.1 million tonnes (6.1%) and is the lowest one when comparing year to year results. The values of the remaining parametres in comparison to June of 2019 are also characterised by smallest differences - transfer service amounted to 4.2 billion tonne-kilometres and was lower by 7.1%, whereas the operational service reached the level of 6.1 million train-kilometres (fall by 7.5%).
- Freight transfer results for June confirm that the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has had a smaller effect on freight transfers than on passenger transfers. Information submitted by carriers shows that the level of Asia-Europe freight services is rising. First received intermodal data also confirms that - comments Mr. Góra. - Freight carriers have also let know that new international connections with customers from Western and Southern Europe have been opened - he adds.
In the first half of 2020 the freight carriers transported 105 million tonnes, what means a fall by 13 million tonnes (11%) in comparison to the corresponding period of last year. Transfer and operational service numbers reached the level of 24.5 billion tonne-kilometres and 36.2 million train-kilometres (decrease by 13.3% and 12.3%) respectively. Notwithstanding the aforementioned difficulties this result is higher by 1.2 million tonnes than the mass of transported goods in 2016, when for the last time one could witness the mass value of transported goods at a level not exceeding 230 million tonnes.
Average travel distance of transported goods in the first half of 2020 amounted to 233 km and was by 6 km lower than in the corresponding period of last year.
The freight transfer results can be found on the Freight transfer statistics website.