The effects of COVID-19 epidemic on public transport ridership and frequencies. A case study from Tampere, Finland

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The COVID-19 epidemic has created unforeseen effects in public transport in cities around the world, including Tampere, where a 70% decrease in the number of passengers occurred in spring 2020. The purpose of this paper is to study changes in public transport ridership, frequencies, and average fill rates during the epidemic in May 2020 compared to normal circumstances in January 2020 using map-based analysis. We used data provided by Tampere regional transport to create the public transport network and to assess the frequencies, ridership and average fill rates in different areas of Tampere. The paper presents the method used to analyze how the modified frequencies meet the decreased demand of public transport in Tampere. These results indicate that the decrease in ridership was great in almost all areas, except some eastern parts of Tampere. The frequencies were decreased in all areas but kept at a sufficient level. When analyzing fill rates, we found that the bus lines coming from east of Tampere were more crowded on average during the COVID-19 epidemic in May compared to January. In other areas, fill rates were lower. The results suggest that in Tampere, frequencies were mostly managed to maintain at a sufficient service level. However, the analyses also reveal that frequencies were not adjusted successfully in all areas with high fill rates in some routes. It is important to notice, that the public transport planners were facing a deviant situation with COVID-19 and that in future, there will be more information to help decision-making.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100348
JournalTransportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives
Publication statusPublished - 14 Mar 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • COVID-19
  • Public transport
  • Frequency
  • Ridership
  • Fill rate

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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