Everything was good news for public transport until the arrival of omicron. Data from the National Institute of Statistics reveal that during the month of November the number of passengers who opted for this mobility option reached 80% of those registered in November 2019. Specifically, more than 359.3 million passengers opted for collective transport in the penultimate month of 2021. 46.4% more than in the same month of 2020.
As far as segment analysis is concerned, urban transport increased by 48.7% in the annual rate and interurban transport by 54.9%. Within the intercity, the increase of 195.2% in air transport stands out. In the first eleven months of 2021, the number of travelers has increased by 24.8% compared to the same period of the previous year.
Urban transport was used by more than 219.7 million passengers in November, 48.7% more than in the same month of the year 2020. Specifically, metro transport increased by 60.5% in the annual rate. The Seville metro showed the largest increase, of 143.8%, and the Bilbao metro the smallest, of 40.7%.
growths on the bus
urban transport by bus increased 41.1% in November compared to the same month of 2020. The INE data indicates that, during the eleventh month of last year, all the autonomous communities presented positive annual rates in bus transport.
The largest increases occurred in the Region of Murcia (91.8%), Principality of Asturias (75.7%) and Andalusia (63.5%). For their part, the Canary Islands (16.9%), the Basque Country (26.7%) and Galicia (29.8%) recorded the smallest increases in bus transport.
Regarding the cities that have a metro, the highest increase in bus transport was recorded in Seville, with a growth of 62.2%. On the other side would be Bilbao, which registered the lowest growth, remaining only at 30.0%.
Air transport skyrockets
For its part, intercity transport grew 54.9% compared to 2020. More than 98.1 million travelers opted for this option last November. By type of transport, air grew by 195.2%; maritime, 113.4%; the railway, 58.1%; and the bus, 48.4%.
With regard to commuter trains, they rose by 43.8% in bus transport and 51.0% in rail transport. The average distance grew by 58.0% in transport by bus and 111.3% in the railway.
Finally, long distance increased by 177.6% in bus transport and 287.1% in rail. Within the latter, highlights the growth of the AVE that shot up 318.0%.
In short, the data show how, until the arrival of omicron, public transport found the path to return to pre-pandemic records. Now, the new variant of the virus will again slow down a key transport segment for the proper functioning of cities. Only the passage of time will show if this is the last step back that will serve as an impetus to recover full normality.