On Thursday, people used their public transport chip card almost 3.8 million times to check in on a train, metro, bus or tram, according to travel data that runs until Friday. That is the busiest since Thursday, March 12, 2020, when the government called on people to work from home as much as possible. At that time, Translink had 4.4 million check-ins.
Since the beginning of March, the crowds in public transport have clearly increased. But it is not yet as busy as before the pandemic. Last week, people traveled about 20 percent less during the week by train, metro, bus or tram compared to 2019.
“On weekdays you can only draw one conclusion: the commuter is not back yet,” says a spokesperson for the NS. It will have to become clear in the coming months whether people will continue to work from home a lot or go to the office more often and therefore also take the train more often.
On weekends, some days it can be just as busy as before, especially when it’s sunny. The rail operator concludes from passenger surveys that the Dutch use public transport more often, partly because of the high fuel prices. At the weekend, for example, it is noticeable that people travel more often with a group ticket, instead of going out by car.
The NS finds it difficult to say whether people also take the train more often because they no longer have to wear a mouth cap since the end of March. Some of the travelers find it pleasant not to have to wear a mouth mask when they are traveling, the spokesperson expects. “But there will also be people who don’t go because they don’t like it very much.”