Czech Railways report huge slump in passenger numbers

Photo: František Krejčí, Pixabay / CC0

 Czech Railways have recorded a huge slump in passenger numbers caused by the restrictions related to the Covid-19 pandemic. Last year, the state-owned passenger train operator transported 117.7 million passengers, 64 million fewer than in the previous year. The company lost more than CZK four billion in revenues as a result.

“The biggest slump was recorded in the second and fourth quarter of 2020. During the first wave of coronavirus, in the spring of last year, passenger numbers hit a record-low level. At the time, the number of passengers accounted for one tenth of the regular figures,” Jindřich Ješeta, Czech Railways’ Director General for Trade, told the Czech News Agency.

The company saw a significant drop in the number of passengers travelling to work and school, but also in the number of tourists, travelling both within the Czech Republic and abroad.

The number of passengers using international connections dropped by 66 percent year-on-year, to 1.9 percent. In the previous year, that figure stood at 5.5 million.

As a result, the average transport distance last year dropped by around four kilometres to 43.5 kilometres.

The slump in passenger numbers and cancelled train connections were also reflected in the company’s financial results for 2020.

“The coronavirus cost us over CZK four billion in revenues both in local and international transport. And the situation won’t get any better this year.

“Following the introduction of the strict coronavirus measures last week, the number of passengers currently accounts for 30 percent of the figures for 2019,” the company’s Director General Ivan Bednárik told the Czech News Agency.

Other train operators in the Czech Republic are also struggling with diminishing passenger numbers and cancelations of train connections. For instance Leo Express saw an approximately 50 percent drop in the number of passengers last year, compared to 2019.