The arrival of ómicron has once again slowed down the recovery of mobility in Madrid. Before the new variant expanded, the capital was about to overcome the 80% barrier at pre-pandemic levels of public transport use. Regarding traffic, in many time slots the capital exceeded the levels of 2019.
In the week of the start of the course, the situation has changed. If you compare the beginning of the current week with that of December 13, during the last few days the public transport has registered drops of 17%. Road traffic, meanwhile, has seen declines of 13%.
Data from the Community of Madrid indicate that the sixth wave of Covid-19 infections caused by the explosion of the omicron variant has generated a significant decrease in the mobility of citizens on public transport in the Community of Madrid. It is estimated that between Friday, December 17 and Sunday, January 9, the loss of trips in the system has risen to 9.8 million in the networks of the four main modes of public transport in the Community (Madrid Metropolitan Railway, EMT, Interurban buses and Renfe Cercanías).
In this period there are days when the drop in demand reaches 750,000 travelersare the days before Christmas Eve and Three Kings Day, while weekdays experience decreases of around 500,000 travelers, while weekends and holidays are in losses of 300,000 travelers.
650,000 fewer travelers
The use of public transport around the holiday period, since last Monday, January 10, is also suffering the effects of this 6th wave in which we continue to be immersed, reaching daily passenger demand figures of 3.7 million, when they should exceed 4.3 million, that is, about 650,000 fewer daily travelers.
In December, the capital was experiencing a moment of intense recovery. If the data is compared with that of 2020, Metro de Madrid services recorded increases of over 40%, the use of Cercanías grew by 38%, while the EMT increased by 27%. In this case, it must be taken into account that bus services registered a greater recovery than other collective transport services in 2020.
Something that is better reflected when seeing the comparison with the 2019 data. The fall of the EMT in December was only 21%, compared to the 24% drop in Metro and Cercanías. During the first days of the current week there has been a setback in this comparison since the EMT registers an average fall of 26%, while in the Metro they reach 35% and in the Cercanías 35%.
Traffic very thin
In an analysis made by the Madrid City Council on the state of traffic, it also indicates significant decreases. Last Wednesday, the report from the Environment and Mobility area highlighted that “like the rest of the week, today we continue with very low values in traffic levels, less than the period before Christmas. Possibly a consequence of the current condition by Covid-19 and the return in many cases to teleworking.
A trend that was noticeable even in the most complex moments of the day. “The rush hour has hardly had circulatory complications and the duration has been very short. In general, on the M-30 has recorded smooth traffic both in its accesses and in the main axes of the urban environment”, indicated the study of the City Council.
In this sense, the data indicate that during that Wednesday the intensity comparison of rush hour registered falls that reached 15% compared to the reference average in the inputs and outputs. Similarly, inside the M-30, the decreases reached 7.8%.
Thus, the first week of the course has shown how the impact of omicron is already felt. In addition to those affected by the disease, the sixth wave of infections has caused citizens reduce your commute both by their own will and by the return to teleworking in many companies. The next few weeks will be key to understanding if we are facing a temporary peak or if this trend extends to the beginning of the year.