THE IMPACT OF THE COVID-19 EPIDEMIC ON RAIL TRANSPORT IN EUROPE
Keywords:COVID-19 epidemic, rail transport, epidemiological restrictions, passenger transport, ecological aspects, supply chain
The aim of the study is to assess the scope of the impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the rail transport market in Europe. To this end, both the passenger and freight transport market were analysed. The period under study covers the years 2019-2022. The COVID-19 epidemic has affected all European countries; and this extends to the demand and supply side of all modes of transport, including rail transport. Restrictions implemented in various areas of economic activity caused Railways to lose a significant part of their passengers. In 2020, the number of passenger-kilometres decreased by an average of 48% compared to 2019. Countries such as Ireland and the United Kingdom saw the biggest change (a decrease of 65%). With regard to the transport of cargo by rail, the scale of the restrictions was already significantly smaller. As a result, the volume of transport performance expressed in tonne-kilometres decreased in 2020 by 7% compared to 2019. The years 2021-2022 represent the end of the reconstruction of the railway market, where the number of passengers transported by rail and the rate of rail use increased significantly and widely. Countries such as Germany, Spain and France have taken initiatives to promote public transport, mainly railways. For the further development of rail transport, it is necessary to continuously improve the quality of services, reduce journey times, improve the accessibility of modern rolling stock and integrate rail with other regional, urban and suburban rail networks and other modes of transport.
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