If passengers are to return to public transport, they need to feel confident they are safe from catching COVID.

One of the biggest social impacts of COVID-19 has been a dramatic fall in the use of public transport.

Not only have train, tram and bus journeys dropped because of lockdowns or work-from-home directives. They’ve also been impacted by public reticence to expose themselves to the virus by commuting.

The International Transport Forum of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has just released figures evidencing public transport ridership declines of 70-95 per cent since the pandemic was declared, and plans by commuters to further reduce their use.

In its Transport Outlook 2021, the ITF cites a Swiss study, which found up to 28 per cent of respondents planned to cut their use of public transport, while a study in China found that around half of the respondents who used bus and metro services before the pandemic no longer caught public transport.

ITF also quotes figures from the UK Office of Rail and Road which show that in mid-2020, intercity journeys on passenger trains were just 6.4 per cent of the volumes of 2019, the lowest on record since the mid-19th century.  

“Protecting and promoting trust in public transport will be a challenge,” said the ITF. “Prioritising sanitation and protection is one way to regain some public trust in the short term.”

And with increased focus on public transport to help reduce urban transport emissions, the report said: “Restoring the confidence of travellers in bus and rail will be crucial to decarbonisation once the pandemic ends.”

Australian biotechnology company Hygiene Labs has developed an antimicrobial shield which inactivates surface contaminations including the Covid-19 virus for up to 28 days, within one hour of application.

It is now used by major clients including airlines, coach companies, and major fleet operators including the Royal Flying Doctor Service to strengthen their anti-Covid protocols, and has been listed by the nation’s medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration, as a long-acting agent.

Hygiene Labs is pleased to partner with the passenger transport sector against the pandemic.